DALY CITY – Nearly 200 people gathered on Saturday (April 13) to celebrate the completion of one of the most innovative Habitat for Humanity housing projects to date.
“Today we are making history,” said Pat McGaraghan, chairman of the board of Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco.
The 36-unit, $13 million condominium project at 7555 Mission Street is the new home of 157 people – families who contributed labor to build their own homes.
In all, 11,000 volunteers donated more than 150,000 hours to create the 7555 Mission Street project. The project started with a groundbreaking ceremony in an abandoned parking lot in 2010.
Along the way, the project earned the Signature Partner Award from the Grand Boulevard Initiative, a 19-agency effort to improve housing, commerce, transit and resident quality of life along the length of El Camino Real.
PG&E’s commitment to Habitat continued as the project is now the single biggest Habitat solar installation in the world. The roof holds 132 solar panels that will provide electricity for all the common areas of the building, including the elevator, exterior lighting, alarm system and garage. The solar system will save residents an estimated $232,000 throughout its lifetime. It was installed by PG&E volunteers.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier congratulated those involved for providing housing that costs 50 percent less than other properties in the area. Daly City Mayor Ray Buenaventura declared April 13 as “Habitat Greater San Francisco Day.” He called 7555 Mission was “a great example of how we can collaborate together to create something meaningful.”
Ezra Garrett, PG&E’s vice president of community relations, relayed the history and impact of PG&E’s Solar Habitat program, and spoke of the company’s our efforts to make sustainability and its related benefits available to underserved communities. Garrett participated in the original groundbreaking event in 2010.
Vice Mayor David Canepa and City Councilmembers Michael Guignona, Carol Klatt and Sal Torres were in attendance.
Gennis Reyes, a new Habitat homeowner, described the work on 7555 Mission as “a labor of love. It was an amazing experience.” Ilma Garcia, another new Habitat homeowner, was very appreciative. “Thank you for making my dream come true,” she said.
These sentiments were especially meaningful to PG&E Solar Habitat Manager Amanda Tutera. “Creating jobs is just one part of improving California’s economy.” she said. “With this effort, working families can establish stable homes, which in turn supports and strengthens the local community.”
The Solar Habitat Program is a partnership between PG&E and Habitat for Humanity International to fund the full cost of solar electric systems on every Habitat-built home in northern and central California. This first-of-its-kind partnership brings solar energy to families with limited incomes in underserved communities.
Through the program, PG&E has provided more than $8 million dollars to fund the full cost of solar electric systems on more than 350 Habitat-built homes for families with limited incomes. Each solar panel generates nearly 300 kWh of clean, renewable energy each month, saving families approximately $500 a year on energy costs. These savings help keep new homeowner payments affordable and hard working families in safe and stable housing.
Over the life of the program, PG&E has helped construct 416 new solar homes, and will add 93 more in 2013.