GOOD

California Plans to Offer Free Solar Panels to Its Poorest Citizens

It may not be the “Sunshine State,” but when it comes to responsible solar energy, California is beginning to see the light.

image via (cc) flickr user ucirvine

While the sun may shine on each and every one of us equally, so far solar power has largely been a much less democratic affair. As solar energy panels become more and more efficient, their application, per a 2013 Center for American Progress study, remains mostly limited to middle-class homes with a median income of between $40-90,000. But a new plan in California will bring free solar power to its poorest citizens, saving each of them hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in electrical costs.


According to The SFGate, the initiative will be led by Grid Alternatives, a nonprofit solar power firm based out of Oakland. Using nearly $15 million dollars raised through California’s cap-and-trade laws, which require companies to purchase “credits” for each ton of carbon dioxide they produce, the firm will provide over 1,600 free solar panel systems by the end of 2016, according to a Grid Alternatives release. The program was first introduced by California State Senator Kevin de León, who spoke at a recent solar panel installation event, saying:

“I introduced SB 535 in 2011 to ensure that our disproportionately impacted communities benefit from investments in clean energy. These investments will bring energy savings, quality jobs, and environmental benefits where they are needed most.”

Here’s full video of that event:

SFGate says that in order to qualify for the program, home owners must be located in a “disadvantaged” neighborhood, as defined by the state. They must also be earning 80 percent or less of that area’s median income per household.

This initiative appears to be, in part, a continuation of Grid Alternative’s previous work in providing solar power to low-income households. The key difference in this case seems to be where the money is coming from—California’s state cap-and-trade fees—the very measures put in place to help the state reduce greenhouse gases. In that respect, this is an astonishingly symmetrical system. Funds procured in an effort to curb pollution are helping to pay for the expansion of a viable green energy source.

Vice’s Motherboard points out that the program, as it currently exists, appears to be something of a potpourri in its execution, dependent on a combination of corporate donations and volunteer labor to operate, and in need of systematizing in order to reach it’s full potential. Still, for those people whose homes have been outfitted with Grid Alternative’s solar power systems, the initiative is a welcome relief. As recipient Roy Rivera explained, “We hope the savings will help defray some of my medical costs. When you have a budget like ours, which is stretched just about as far as you can go, it makes a big difference.”

Articles

In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

Keep Reading Show less

Since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale populations have been steadily recovering. However, whales in the wild still face other dangers. In the summer of 2018, four Russian companies that supply aquariums with marine animals captured almost 100 beluga whales and killer whales (aka orcas). After a public outcry, those whales are swimming free as the last of the captive whales have been released, the first time this many captured whales have been released back into the wild.

In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

An anonymous White House official claims President Trump cruelly limited Hispanic immigrants in their new book, "A Warning."

The book, to be released on November 19, gives an alleged insider account of the Trump White House and paints a picture of the president as a chaotic man who lacks the mental and moral acumen required for the job.

The anonymous staffer says that Trump once feigned a Hispanic accent and made fun of women attempting to immigrate to the U.S.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The 2020 election is a year away, but Donald Trump has some serious ground to cover if he doesn't want it to be a historical blowout.

A Washington Post- ABC News poll released Tuesday shows that Trump loses by double digits to the top Democratic contenders.

Vice President Joe Biden (56%-39%); Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (54%-39%); Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (56%-39%); South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (52%-41%); and Sen. Kamala Harris of California (52%-41%) all have big leads over the president.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
Yad Vashem

Since 1992, the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous has been holding reunion ceremonies between Holocaust survivors and rescuers once a year. But the tradition is coming to an end, as many have died or are too frail to travel. What might be the last reunion of its kind took place when a 92-year-old woman met up with the two surviving family members that she helped hide during the Holocaust, and their descendants.

Sarah Yanai and Yossi Mor introduced Melpomeni Dina (nee Gianopoulou) to their almost 40 family members, all decedents of the Mordechai family, the family of seven that Dina and her two sisters hid during WWII. "There are no words to describe this feeling," Dina told the Jeruselum Post. "It is very emotional for us to be together again."

Keep Reading Show less
Culture