Senior citizens in a less-affluent part of the California city of Oakland will soon have a less expensive way to keep the lights on thanks to a new statewide solar program.
Under the Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) program of the California state government which kicked off back in 2019, St Mary’s Gardens, a 100-unit housing complex for seniors in the lower-income brackets, is set to be outfitted with solar panels that could take as much as $40.00 off residents’ monthly electrical bills.
What is SOMAH?
SOMAH was created to give financial help to enable those living in affordable housing projects to have solar power solutions installed, thus reducing the need for electricity generated from the state grid and consequently decreasing their power bills per month. The initiative also seeks to educate tenants of these housing projects about the benefits of going solar.
To date, over 100 low-income residential areas have installed solar panels thanks to SOMAH. This, in turn, reduces the negative impact that urban pollution and climate change have on those in disadvantaged communities as they now have access to safe and clean power.
Indeed, SOMAH program manager Staci Givens refers to the initiative as a way of giving back to the most vulnerable members of society who, under ordinary circumstances, would be voiceless in discussions related to the effects of the climate crisis.
A Notable Pioneer
SOMAH is just one of several climate- and renewable power-centric projects initiated in California. Indeed, it is notable that California is responsible for 50% of the total number of residential solar panels installed in the United States.
Throughout the state, the use of solar panels has become the alternative of choice for many households in light of increasingly worrisome climatic changes. However, prior to recent changes, the bulk of solar panel installations could only be seen in affluent neighborhoods.
Today, thanks to the Biden administration’s Solar for All, a $7 billion country-wide program meant to bring equity to the solar energy sector, even those in lower-income communities can harness sunlight to power their homes.