ORCCA Brings Sustainable Energy To Low-Income Homes

KDCQ, Dec. 20, 2011

Oregon Coast Community Action is thrilled to highlight the progress being made in supporting South Coast families through the 2011-2012 US Department of Energy American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s Sustainable Energy Resources for Consumers (SERC) Program grant. Upon being awarded $1.24 million, ORCCA began the process of providing sustainable energy resources for low-income consumers in Coos and Curry counties.

Through a partnership with Sol Coast Consulting and Design, ORCCA is providing Solar Photovoltaic (PV) access to over 100 low-income households in the area. ORCCA has already been able to install solar panels at the Women’s Safety and Resource Center’s Chloe House, as well as Coos Curry Housing Authority’s facilities in Airport Heights and Powers. Most recently, panels have been installed at Cedar Grove Apartments, and have just begun installations at Park West Apartments.

These buildings will serve as excellent examples of sustainable buildings that use energy more efficiently and reduce the environmental impacts associated with energy consumption, while providing sustainable cost savings and a better environment. Over the next 25 years, the cost savings are projected to be $1.2 million, not including any excess power that is produced and directed back to the utility grid for credit. The cost savings will translate to more disposable income available for residents to improve their living conditions and meet other needs.

In addition to the energy assistance provided, the $1.24 million has been reinvested directly into the local and state economy. All of the solar modules have been manufactured in Oregon, all the equipment suppliers are local, and the project has allowed for the creation of 11 local green jobs for the installations.

“We anticipate the project’s positive impacts on our community are going to be seen for years to come,” says Mary Schoen-Clark, CEO of Oregon Coast Community Action. “Not only will households save money on energy costs, but we also hope to demonstrate how communities like ours can benefit from sustainable-living practices.”

ORCCA’s Weatherization program has been in existence since the early 1980s. It serves to improve energy efficiency and safety in households in Coos and Curry counties. Since its inception, the program has provided services to over 3,000 homes in the area. For more information on ORCCA’s Weatherization services, please call (541) 435-7080 or visit www.orcca.us/energy.html .