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California Mobile Home Park Gets Cutting Edge Renewable Energy System

Phil Salas, project manager for the solar panel installation company Home Ene...

Photo by Katie Schoolov

Above: Phil Salas, project manager for the solar panel installation company Home Energy Systems, stands in front of panels he and his crew installed on a San Diego home, Oct. 12, 2015.

California is funding a trial program that could bring cutting edge renewable power systems to low-income communities around the state.

The California Energy Commission is bankrolling a plan to bring renewable energy to a mobile home park near Bakersfield, California.

The money will allow for the installation of solar panels and a battery storage system. The idea is to make the technology available to communities that otherwise could not afford it.

"Supporting solar and storage for those communities is a benefit for not only to them but also to ratepayers as a whole as it reduces the need for the utility to make further investments into the transmission and distribution system," said Tim Sasseen of the San Diego based Center for Sustainable Energy.

The combination is expected to cut the community’s power bills by 40 percent. He said this could be the future for low-income communities around the state.

"We expect solar and storage combined to be the dominant form of power generation in the future without question. And many people in the industry are looking towards that as well. The costs for energy storage are dropping radically," Sasseen said.

The project is funded by the California Energy Commission, which awarded the project a $2 million grant.

The project could expand the impact of solar systems by making them available in places they might not otherwise be set up.

If this project is a success, others are expected to follow.

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