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IID and Citizens Energy Switch-Up Solar Project to Help Low-Income Customers

-Editorial

It was a day of celebration for Imperial Valley residents with the partnerships between the Imperial Irrigation District and Citizens Energy that will benefit many low-income residents in Coachella and Imperial Valley.

IID and Citizen Energy have joined forces to develop the first-of-its-kind community solar project that will provide clean, renewable energy too, and lower the electric utility bills for all of IID’s qualified low-income and disadvantaged energy customers.

“Now, IID’s low-income customers can say they too form a part of California’s green energy revolution,” IID Board President Erik Ortega said during his remarks.

Present at the event was Joseph P. Kennedy, II, former congressman, and Citizens Energy chairman. Kennedy said that this program will be beneficial for the people of Imperial Valley and those that need it the most since this program is for the people.

“Public power and stakeholders are the keys and when you have these all these solar panels here, the poor will get all 100 percent of the benefits,” Kennedy said.

The solar project is located on approximately 200 acres of IID-owned land near the district’s Midway Substation outside of Calipatria, California that is leased to Citizens Energy and connected to IID’s electric grid. It consists of approximately 107,000 solar panel modules.

The new IID/Citizens low-income community solar project will serve upwards of 12,000 electric customers in this economically stressed desert area of California who will see their monthly bills reduced under IID’s new Residential Energy Assistance Program and the district’s new eGreen Program.

It is considered to be one of the largest low-income community solar projects in the nation, and unique among community solar energy projects in its structure and implementation.

IID will have an option to purchase, own and operate the solar project at the end of the agreement.

The cost of the energy from the IID/Citizens solar project is the lowest the district has ever been able to procure for solar energy; (net first-year costs to IID are expected to be approximately $19.83 per megawatt-hour). IID’s total cost of purchasing power over the life of the agreement is estimated at $36 million.

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