Habitat For Humanity Goes Solar

January 26, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
A brand new Habitat for Humanity home was dedicated Saturday to a Fresno family in need. But this donated home will be helping more than just the family for years to come.The Ayala family of 9 walked into their brand new five bedroom home for the first time Saturday. A welcome move from the three bedroom apartment they were living in.

Augustine Ayala says he's proud to call this house home. It's nestled in the Crossroads Community made up of 89 homes all built by Habitat for Humanity.

But the Ayala's home will get something extra thanks to a $150,000 donation from PG&E ten habitat homes are getting solar panels.

The utility estimates it will save each family about $500 a year in energy costs. Al Galvez, PG&E Public Affairs Manager, says "But not only that- it's the environmental issue- carbon dioxides will be saved from going into the atmosphere. Big plus for the environment, big plus for the family."

Organizers say the biggest plus for families is helping them transition out of the cycle of poverty.

Tony Miranda, Habitat for Humanity Fresno County, says "The most important thing is families have more money they can put towards other things besides than utility bills."

A non-profit group based in the bay area teaches volunteers to install the solar systems and have them up and running in two days.

Tim Sears, Grid Alternatives, says "Usually by the end of the 2nd day- we can flip the switch and see the meter spin backwards feeding power back onto the grid."

A new start for a family with a new technology just overhead.

It costs about $15,000 a house to add the solar panels. Chukchansi Casino donated $30,000 to Habitat for Humanity to help build the Ayala's home.


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