Posted on August 19, 2013

PG&E Helps Dedicate and Fund Solar for Habitat Homes in Sonora and Clovis

SONORA – Two new Habitat for Humanity homes were dedicated in rural Sonora last week –homes that will feature solar panels paid for by a $25,000 grant from PG&E.

PG&E’s Raj Beasla, Central Valley corporate affairs director, and Angela Vega, community relations representative, presented the oversized check at a ceremony with the families on Friday (Aug. 16).

The Bauer and the Geer families will each be moving into one of the Habitat for Humanity homes in Sonora. Katie Bauer and her mother Lori Bauer stand in front of Colten Bauer who is holding the check, while Stacy Geer and her husband Will Geer hold their son Scott. (Photo by Angela Vega.)

The two homes are part of the Parrots Ferry subdivision, a 35-unit project by Habitat for Humanity of Tuolumne County. The project is the first affordable housing subdivision in the city of just under 5,000 people.

Betsy Harden, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Tuolumne County, said PG&E is an important corporate sponsor of the new subdivision. She said families will not only benefit from the new homes, but they will also save money in utility costs in years to come with the solar panels paid for by PG&E.

“What is making it affordable long-term is the partnership with PG&E,” she said.

Gifts kept coming

Harden said the Parrots Ferry subdivision has benefitted tremendously from corporate sponsorships and surprise gifts along the way.

The 35-lot property – in addition to three commercial lots across the street – was purchased by Habitat for a bargain $399,000; this, after an earlier developer of the land ran into financial problems. “The tragedy for the developer was a great gift for us,” said Harden. Then the bank that sold the property ended up making a $10,000 donation to the Habitat chapter. Afterward, Lowe’s decided to pay off the bank loan on the property purchase. PG&E then gives $25,000 for solar.

Harden said the entire project is coming together because so many people and businesses have stepped in to help. “It’s the community building the houses,” she said.

With the two new homes expected to be completed in October, eight of the 35 homes will be occupied. The newest homeowners will be the Bauer and Geer families: Lori Bauer will live in one of the homes with her children Katie and Colten, and Will and Stacy Geer will live in the other with children Malcolm and Scott. The families contributed hundreds of hours of physical labor in the building of their homes, and their traditional mortgage payments will be used to help create opportunities for future Habitat families.

Fresno County homes also dedicated

Also on Friday, three Habitat homes were dedicated in the Fresno County community of Clovis. During the event Clovis Mayor Nathan Magsig praised PG&E for its ongoing commitment to the program.

The dedication followed a PG&E check presentation to Habitat for Humanity of Fresno County for $155,000 at the Fresno Grizzlies baseball game on Aug. 3.

PG&E has an ongoing commitment to bring solar to Habitat homes.

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.

PG&E has since 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.

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