Desert Rose solar community is largest in state

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PALM DESERT, Calif. - The heat of summer is just around the corner and that means sky high electric bills for some -- but not all.

Grid Alternatives and the Sash Program work together to provide solar electric systems free of charge for low income homes across the country. They've installed solar panels for 84 families in the Desert Rose community in Palm Desert, making it the largest solar powered affordable housing community in the state. 

Pearl Verre has lived in the community since it was built in 1994. 

"Well, you always had to hold your breath when the summer months came along because you had high electricity bills," said Verre.

However, that is not longer the case. According to Verre, her last electric bill was only 53 cents. She says on average, her electric bill is $16 per month.

Daniel Dumovich is the Sash Program Coordinator. 

"We aim to reduce each homeowners bill by up to 75 percent," he said.

Many of the solar panels in the Desert Rose community are stationed on residents' garages. They also face south, in order to collect as much sunlight as possible. 

Solar panels usually come with a hefty price tag, but in this case they are free of charge.

"So the single family affordable solar homes program is financed through California rate payers," said Dumovich. "It was also part of the California solar initiative, which was a $2.2 billion initiative passed in 2006 and so 10 percent was set aside for low income homes." 

To qualify for solar panel installation through Grid Alternatives and the Sash program, certain requirements must be met. One must own his or her home, have a household income that is 80 percent or below the median area income and live in a home defined as 'affordable housing.'

For more information, click here to visit the Grid Alternatives website. 

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