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Joe Kennedy Launches Solar Homes Project

EL CENTRO, Calif. – Citizens Energy Corporation Chairman Joseph P. Kennedy II today launched an innovative project to reduce the electricity bills of low-income residents of the Imperial Valley in California through the installation of rooftop solar collection systems.

During a press conference at the home of El Centro resident Jo Ann Rodrigues Finley, the Citizens Energy founder said the project will help relieve the burden of high energy costs for residents of the valley, where summer temperatures can soar over 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

“There is so much energy in the Imperial Valley,” said the former Massachusetts Congressman. “Whether you talk about solar, wind or geothermal energy, this corner of America is blessed with the renewable energy we need to power our country and help our planet. But there’s no reason that these resources should be out of the reach of average working American families. Today marks the celebration of our efforts to use the proceeds from our ownership share of the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line in the Imperial Valley to make solar power available to all.”

Citizens Energy is using revenues from the transmission line to help low-income families shoulder the burden of electricity costs. “The fact that families here in the Imperial Valley have worked hard and played by the rules but now find themselves unable to afford electricity should not be allowed to exist in the richest state in the richest country on the planet,” said Kennedy.

The Citizens Energy Solar Homes Project will reduce a homeowner’s electricity costs by an average of 40 to 50 percent. The systems will be purchased, installed, and maintained at no cost to the homeowner, with all the savings coming right off the family’s electricity bill. More than 100 solar systems will be installed at the homes of income-eligible households annually. To be eligible for the benefit, households must have received a free energy audit and weatherization services to ensure the most efficient use of the electricity.

The total program will generate about one million kilowatts annually, save about 2.3 million pounds of carbon emissions, and cuts costs for needy households by millions of dollars.

Finley, a 75-year-old great-grandmother whose family has lived in the Imperial Valley since 1943, depends entirely on limited Social Security income to pay all her bills. “The last few summers have been difficult for me due to my being unemployed because I keep the thermostat on my air conditioner set at approximately 83 degrees,” said Finley. “That’s really too warm for me especially with my diabetes. With the help of the solar panels, I feel that I’ll be able to keep the house at a comfortable temperature all summer long.”

“Inherently, renewable energy is about helping people who need energy the most, and in a region where energy is a necessity and not a convenience, this becomes even more important,” said Carl Stills, IID interim deputy energy manager. “We are proud to support the Citizens Solar Homes Project, and look forward to working with them as more of these systems become a reality.”

“Citizens Energy has an excellent record of community engagement and support of energy solutions for low-income communities,” said Jim Avery, SDG&E’s senior vice president for power supply, about the utility company’s work with Citizens on the transmission line. “We are so pleased with the work they have done and applaud their commitment to supporting the local community. The installation of rooftop solar will pay dividends for years to come in both energy savings for these low-income customers and reduced greenhouse gasses for the greater Imperial Valley region.”

Citizens Energy Corporation has a long history of using revenues from successful ventures to help the communities in which it does business in the U.S. and abroad. Over the last three decades, the Boston-based non-profit has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in energy assistance to heating oil, electricity and natural gas customers in over 30 states.

For more information about the Citizens Energy Solar Homes Project, please visit the Citizens Energy website: You can also call 1-855-GO-SUN-GO (1-855-467-8646) or send an email to

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