8 Low-Income Families Get Solar Electric Systems In Homes

8 Low-Income Families Get Solar Electric Systems In Homes
October 22, 2011

TEMPLETON - Low-income families in one Central Coast community are getting help lowering their electric bills with new solar systems installed in their homes. In just one day, a solar energy system was installed into the homes of eight families in Templeton. GRID Alternatives, a non-profit solar installer, held its first Central Coast Solarthon.

"We want to try to be environmental stewards and really promote renewable energy as a viable source," said Steven Fernandez, regional director for GRID Alternatives.

There were more than 100 environmental stewards on the roofs installing the systems, including homeowners, community volunteers, corporate sponsors and job trainees. Homeowners are working off their down payment through People's Self-help Housing.

"Saving money will save me a lot of grief, with as many children as I have," said Steve Williams, homeowner.

"It will help them lower their monthly bills, help them survive, they'll then possibly spend extra money in the community which will then again go back and help the entire community," said Sheryl Flores, housing development director-homeownership for Peoples' Self-Help Housing.

The families have been building their homes for more than a year and do about 65 percent of the work on their own. The solar panels will save an estimated $171,000 over the next 30 years for these families.

"The savings are really good, but also we're helping the environment, which is a plus," said Consuelo Botello, homeowner.

"There's no limit to their potential after participating in a program like this," Flores said.

In addition to helping the families with their down payment, Peoples' Self-help Housing helps them qualify for a loan. The families will still have a mortgage to pay when they're done building their home. They are expected to move into their new homes by the end of this year.