Richmond to receive 130 free home solar installations over three years

Richmond homeowners encouraged to apply for free home solar systems

Over the next three years, 130 low-income Richmond households will receive free home solar installations from GRID Alternatives, after the Richmond City Council approved a $550,000 contract Tuesday.

The funds for solar installations won’t come out of the city’s budget, but rather a portion of the $90 million in community benefits agreement with Chevron Richmond connected to the upcoming $1 billion modernization of the Richmond Refinery. About one-third of the $90 million has been set aside for greenhouse gas reduction programs such as a photovoltaic solar farm on Refinery property and tree planting in Richmond.

The 130 solar systems are expected to generate more than $2.2 million in energy cost savings for low-income families and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7,000 tons, the city said.

Also, the installations require employing trainees from RichmondBUILD, the highly successful local career training program that Chevron also supports. The trainees will receive a combined 15,000 hours of job building experience as a result of the upcoming 130 installations, the city said.

GRID Alternatives, a nonprofit that works to bring solar energy to low-income families, has installed roughly 150 solar systems in West County and well over 1,000 in the Bay Area since 2005, according to this project map. Those installations have prevented more than 85,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the nonprofit says.