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City of San Diego unveils $10 million plan to provide solar energy to low-income communities

Families in communities at highest risk to climate change can get solar energy systems installed for little to no cost.

SAN DIEGO — There is a push for clean energy in communities that may be most at risk to climate change.

The city of San Diego is partnering with San Diego Gas & Electric and the Center for Sustainable Energy to provide solar panels at little to no cost for low income families.

The program is called the San Diego Solar Equity Program.

"It's targeted to low income folks who otherwise might not get access to clean energy because they can't afford the $20,000 it takes to put solar on their rooftop," said Lawrence Goldenhersh of the Center for Sustainable Energy.

He said the goal is to provide clean energy in communities that historically have had less access to it.

The program covers up to 100 percent of solar installation costs. In addition, it also covers up to $3500 dollars for electrical panel upgrades to prepare homes for solar installation.

The city said its paid for by shareholder funds from SDG&E as part of its energy cooperation agreement. The electrical and gas utility said this program is not paid for by the rate payers.

Who qualifies?

  • You must live in an area deemed as highest risk to climate impacts based on San Diego's Climate Equity Index
  • You must also meet income requirements. For example, a family of four must make less than about $120,000 a year

Applications will open up in September. You can apply by going to the program's website sdsolarequity.org

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