Cedric Hicks, SBCCOG board chair and Carson Council member (left), greets Carson homeowner Lawrence Adams before the installation begins.

After spending several hours hammering and drilling atop the roof of Lawrence Adams’ Carson home in 90-degree July temperatures, a half dozen workers and volunteers donning hard hats made their final ladder descent all smiles and high fives. They joined Adams and others on his driveway to celebrate an effort that would amount to future decades of comfort for him and his family.

“This has all been such a blessing,” Adams told the group. “Thank you.”

Adams recently retired after working for 38 years for Sparkletts, a water delivery company. Since his retirement he has been preparing his home for the arrival of his sister and their 103-year-old mother, who recently moved from Arizona to live with him. The morning’s installation of roof-top solar panels followed another recent addition of a solar-ready electrical panel. The solar installation was well-timed, enabling Adams to power his air conditioning to keep his family cool all summer long.

To lessen Adams’ reliance on the city’s electricity grid and help reduce the city’s overall carbon footprint, Adams’ home was one of 33 in Carson since 2015 to qualify to receive no-cost installation of solar systems through the GRID Alternatives Los Angeles program. GRID Alternatives provides green technology and services to low-income households and people of color in disadvantaged communities.

Clean Power Alliance (CPA), the local energy provider for the City of Carson and the South Bay Cities Council of Governments (SBCCOG) communities of Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills Estates and Los Angeles County, awarded GRID Alternatives a $30,000 Community Benefit Grant to cover the cost of the installation. CPA accepted applications through October 6 for its annual Community Benefits Grant. Adams also had recently qualified to receive a new roof through the Neighborhood Pride Program, funded by Carson’s annual allocation of Community Development Block Grant funds to assist upgrades to low- and moderate-income owners of single-family detached dwellings.

Ted Bardacke, CPA’s chief operating officer, joined Carson City Council Member and SBCCOG Board Chair Cedric Hicks and other South Bay elected leaders to help with the installation. Hicks said that because Carson is home to Marathon’s Los Angeles oil refinery—the ninth largest in the United States—every unit reduction of CO2 emissions counts. Among his goals as chair is supporting the SBCCOG’s mission to reduce carbon emissions in the entire subregion.

“The sustainability stars aligned perfectly to enable us to provide Lawrence and his family access to this green equipment and technology,” Hicks said. “In addition to helping the region meet its energy goals, over the next few decades Lawrence will save thousands of dollars on his electricity bill. Often disadvantaged communities don’t have the same access to technological advances, so this is a proud moment to see everyone who came out with their sleeves rolled up and ready to help Lawrence—and proud for our city and community.”

The SBCCOG is working with Carson and its 15 other member cities to conduct greenhouse gas inventories, most recently updated in 2012. The effort involves gathering data from utilities such as Southern California Edison and SoCalGas. The SBCCOG then uses the ClearPath tool (icleisui.org/clearpath) from ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability to quantify emissions. Once the review is completed, the SBCCOG will begin working with cities to update their climate action plan (CAP) strategies, first developed in 2017 for South Bay cities and the entire subregion. CAPs provide cities with an advantage during the competitive bidding process to qualify for funding programs, such as GRID Alternatives, to advance climate goals.

“Carson has been my home for 50 years,” Adams said. “I’m really happy to do my part to reduce carbon emissions in my community and for the planet.” •

To learn more and apply for a CPA Community Benefits Grant, visit cleanpoweralliance.org/calpinegrant.