Bringing Solar Power to Apartment Tenants

SCE supports solar panel installation on affordable apartments in Orange to save residents money and help reduce their carbon footprint.
Dec 21, 2023 9:15 AM ET

Energized by Edison

By Lynnette Round ENERGIZED by Edison Writer

It’s a rare sight even in solar power-friendly Southern California. Row after row of photovoltaic panels atop the carports of an affordable housing development in Orange. Residents of The Knolls, a 260-unit apartment complex, are now enjoying the benefits of a new 646-kilowatt solar system. It provides clean and renewable energy for their homes and helps them save money on electric bills.

“I am happy that we have the solar option now. It is good for the environment and our quality of life,” said K.K., a resident of The Knolls. “Now, we can use our savings from our bills to help our children.”

The Foundation for Affordable Housing, BLDG Partners, Sunrun, the city of Orange and Southern California Edison collaborated on the solar project to reduce the community's dependence on fossil fuels. The residents of the affordable apartments will benefit from the 1,596 advanced solar panels installed throughout the property, which will meet 65% of the community's electricity needs. The new rooftops are now generating clean energy for the complex.

“I grew up in the city of Orange. We have an enormous sense of community,” said Jonathan Russo, senior asset manager at The Foundation for Affordable Housing. “By investing in the city and its residents, this project is expected to lower the average household’s monthly electric costs by $60 and is one way to take part in affordable, clean energy.”

The Knolls project was made possible through the Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing program. This statewide program provides rebates to property owners who install solar systems for qualified low-income or disadvantaged community housing. Additional participation benefits include installing energy-efficiency measures, solar panel installation job training and workforce development opportunities emphasizing local and targeted hires and tenant education and engagement.

Annual funds were approved through the California Climate Investments initiative. Money comes from Cap-and-Trade Program auction proceeds deposited in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and used to support the state’s goals to reduce carbon emissions and reduce climate change's effects.

The Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing program aims to install 300 MW of generating capacity by 2030. The Knolls is the fourth-largest system providing direct benefits to California renters and represents the state’s commitment to reducing climate impacts. Renters who cannot install solar panels can take part in renewable energy projects in their community through SCE’s Community Renewables Program.

“The Knolls is the exact kind of project that is critical not only to accomplishing Southern California Edison’s clean energy vision to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also for making sure all customers realize the cost savings that come with clean energy,” said Cynthia Quimby, SCE Government Relations manager. “SCE remains committed to safely providing all of our customers with cost savings, as well as reliable and affordable energy, and we look forward to continuing to work with our partners and communities on future solutions.”

As part of Countdown to 2045, Edison International’s updated analysis of the transformation needed to achieve California’s net-zero emissions mandate, solar and wind will contribute the bulk of the energy supply across most hours of the day and 68% of the annual energy needed to serve grid demand. These projects play a crucial role in achieving this goal and building fair and sustainable energy systems.

For more information about community solar, visit SCE’s Community Renewables Program page.