Solar Santa Monica, CAby Rena Ragimova
The City of Santa Monica's Community Energy Independence Initiative establishes a net zero energy city goal by 2020 -- meaning that through maximizing energy efficiency and solar in every building in the community it is possible to produce as much electricity as is consumed. Solar Santa Monica provides free-of-charge energy efficiency and solar assessments for residential and commercial property owners and pre-qualified contractors. The program simplifies and streamlines the solar purchasing process by evaluating competing contractor bids, helping the property owner to understand his or her options and make the most cost-effective and beneficial choice. The program also works to educate the community through hands-on workshops covering many energy and solar topics, participation in community events, and partnerships with schools, affordable housing providers, community colleges and other nonprofits.
Solar Santa Monica, launched in 2006, is now in its third year of operation. As of July 2009, over 1MW of solar had been installed at 233 sites in Santa Monica, of which 262 kilowatts (kW) were installed between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009. This 262 kW of installed solar alone reduces CO2 emissions by 436,388 pounds per year, and avoids emitting 278 pounds of SO2, 377 pounds of NOx, 358 pounds oof ozone, and .0011 pounds of mercury. Over the 25 year life of the solar system, 5,422 tons of CO2 emissions will be avoided.