Advanced Energy Rebuild: One Year Later | Sonoma Clean Power

Advanced Energy Rebuild: One Year Later

It has now been more than a year...

It has now been more than a year since the October 2017 firestorm swept through our counties, destroying thousands of homes and businesses in its path.

As our neighboring cities to the Northeast take the title of California’s most destructive wildfire in history, we remember just how daunting and unpredictable the rebuilding process can be.

It is our hope that the communities of Paradise, Malibu, and others affected by the recent fires will find Sonoma Clean Power’s and other local agencies' response to the 2017 fires helpful as they begin the difficult road to recovery.

In the wake of the Tubbs and North Bay fires, SCP donated $1 million to 20 nonprofits helping with watershed protection, community services for survivors, and broader recovery efforts throughout Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

The wide range of recipients included the Redwood Empire Food Bank, the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, the Sonoma County Indian Health Project, and the Conservation Action Fund for Education, among many others.

This effort was led by an Ad Hoc Committee of SCP’s Board of Directors. The Committee assessed the immediate needs of the community and put forth initiatives that touched on all aspects of the recovery process, including:

  • Lending SCP’s Program Director full time to the County of Sonoma to oversee watershed protection and restoration.
  • Reimbursing all electric charges for the emergency shelters in Sonoma and Mendocino counties.
  • Coordinating with PG&E to forgive all fire survivors of their outstanding balances on bills.
  • Offering free replacement EV chargers to fire survivors who lost theirs, as part of our Drive EV program.
  • Actively participating in a series of regional coordination meetings to explore how to expand energy-efficient housing in transit-friendly locations.
  • Coordinating with PG&E to reimburse the accumulated balances for solar (net energy metering) customers who lost homes.
  • Working with the California Energy Commission to explore using a 20-year pre-purchase of EverGreen (our 100% local, renewable service) as an alternate (and cheaper) compliance path for community solar in the 2020 energy code.
  • Starting the process to build an educational facility to promote carbon-free technologies such as heat pumps and induction cooktops in downtown Santa Rosa, which will open later in 2019.

To aid in local rebuilding efforts, SCP, PG&E, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District came together to develop the Advanced Energy Rebuild (AER) program.

Through AER, fire survivors can receive incentives of up to $17,500 to help incorporate energy-saving features into their new homes. These features include water-efficient landscaping, all-electric appliances, electric vehicle charging stations, and even solar array systems with battery storage.

So far, we have received applications for over 150 advanced energy homes to be rebuilt in our two counties!

Our partnership with PG&E also led to us launching a series of regional classes on Net-Zero design and construction topics, including high-performance walls, designing efficient plumbing systems, residential HVAC systems, advanced wood framing, zero-net energy structures, and more.

Additionally, SCP offered trainings for property-owners, certified energy analysts (CEAs), and architects, designed to help them better understand how to apply for the AER program and how to become more familiar with the energy-saving options available for new homes. We are delighted to report that over 490 community members took advantage of these workshops.

Helping residents design and build homes that emit less pollution, use less energy, and lower a homeowner's utility bills is a role that we never imagined would be ours 5 years ago when we launched. However, the programs and partnerships that formed after these fires are proof that, as a community, we will adapt and together we will recover.

To learn more about the AER program, click here.

To read about the first all-electric home completed through AER, click here.

A look back on this year...

Helping our community rebuild and recover.

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Building sheds at the 'Inspiring Hope' Sonoma County rebuild event



AER workshop on Heat Pump Water Heating Systems



Rebuilding Workshop and Resource Fair in Oakmont



Installing solar on new Habitat for Humanity homes with GRID Alternatives

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AER workshop on High Performance Enclosures

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Halloween at the Redwood Empire Foodbank

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AER workshop on Water, Energy, and Time Efficient How Water Systems for New Homes

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Rebuild Green Expo in Santa Rosa

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SCP class on Solar and Batteries

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RiseUp fence raising event for Larkfield and Mark West Springs



AER workshop on Residential Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

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Mendocino County Library DIY Toolkit workshop