Solar Training Empowers Residents with New Job Skills

Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino builds on green initiatives at

Maplewood Homes community with job training by HelioPower

Gerard Auer, HelioPower program manager, presents solar and smart grid basics at the green job training kick off meeting, March 3. The training session was conducted at the Whitney Young Community Center for Maplewood Homes residents. Photo courtesy: HACSB.

What is a solar power installation?  How does it work?  How is a solar power system installed?  These solar energy basics are part of the new green job curriculum initiated this month for residents of Maplewood Homes in San Bernardino, CA.

The solar training is part of a green initiatives program adopted by the Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino (HACSB) at Maplewood Homes.  Located on West 9th Street in San Bernardino, this HACSB community includes 296 housing units and is home to over 1100 residents.  The solar training is presented by HelioPower, a leading California solar installation firm, through its HelioUniversity program.

The training is a component of an overall green program at the development supported by a California Solar Initiative (CSI) Multifamily Affordable Solar Homes (MASH) Track 2 grant received last year.  The MASH funding includes the installation of solar power systems by HelioPower on 98 residential homes and 3 community buildings in the development.  HACSB is monetizing the savings from the green energy generated on the common area meters and channeling those funds into the green job training programs now underway.

“The solar panel installation courses are a great opportunity for our residents to learn a new trade, gain knowledge of the upcoming solar efforts in the community, and potentially get hired by HelioPower to do the installations at Maplewood Homes.  This project is the first of many that the Housing Authority is pursuing to show our commitment to implementing green initiatives not only to increase sustainability and save energy, but also to provide employment opportunities for our clients in the growing green-building industry,” states Gus Joslin, Deputy Executive Director, Office of Real Estate Development at HACSB.

HelioPower Vice President of Business Development Tom Millhoff said “HACSB’s demonstrated outstanding initiative, creativity and financial savvy in developing this solar project in conjunction with a major energy efficiency retrofit and property upgrades at Maplewood Homes.  The result is substantially improved living environment for tenants, reduced living expenses, and a shining legacy that sets the “green standard” for other Housing Authorities.”

The Housing Authority was organized in 1941 and is the largest provider of affordable housing in the County.  HACSB owns or manages more than 10,000 housing units and serves approximately 30,000 individuals, the majority of which are children, seniors, and persons with disabilities. HACSB is not only a housing provider and developer, but a community resource and advocate for the residents of San Bernardino County.

HACSB is celebrating its 70th anniversary in the community this year.  The solar power system at Maplewood Homes will be dedicated in an anniversary open house and ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, July 14th at 10am.