Nonprofit, tribal leaders celebrate California’s low-income community solar project

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Nonprofit solar installer GRID Alternatives Inland Empire (GRID IE), tribal partner Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians, and Anza Electric Cooperative Inc. recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark completion of one of California’s first low-income community solar projects.

GRID IE was awarded a $2.5 million grant under the California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) Low-income Weatherization/Community Solar Pilot Program to fund the project. The ground-mount array, totaling 994.6 kW and about 3,000 solar panels, is located on the Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians reservation in Anza Valley.

The project broke ground in June 2020 and was completed this past January. According to GRID IE, the CSD Santa Rosa Solar Project is expected to provide $5.4 million in savings to benefit members of the Anza Electric Cooperative, including 38 tribal homes and up to 200 qualified low-income utility customers.

GRID IE said the project reflects the collaborative spirit of this small rural community coming together for the benefit of those less fortunate. Because of the large size of the project, GRID staff also worked alongside tribal trainees recruited to assist with construction.

GRID’s Tribal Program​ helps tribal communities become self-sustaining by providing resources to assist with their clean energy goals.

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