Commissioner Carmen Rubio, Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund celebrate Power to the People PDX’s first solar installation with Portland’s African American Alliance for Homeownership (AAAH)

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PCEF grantee project Power to the People PDX makes energy efficiency measures and renewable energy possible for communities of color and low-income homeowners.
Man taking photo of 5 people in front of solar installation
Team members from African American Alliance of Homeownership celebrate with homeowner Franteece Jackson, recipient of the first solar installation from their Power to the People PDX project.

It was a warm-hearted celebration on Friday at the newly solar-powered home of Franteece Jackson. Franteece is a participant in the new Power to the People PDX Program, created and presented by the African American Alliance for Homeownership (AAAH), an inaugural grantee of the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund. A 7.6 kW solar installation is expected to provide over 100% of the home’s energy. Remarks by AAAH Executive Director Cheryl Roberts, City of Portland Commissioner Carmen Rubio, PCEF Program Manager Sam Baraso, Sunbridge Solar’s Jordan Weisman and Energy Trust of Oregon Executive Director Michael Colgrove told the story of the benefits to the homeowner and to the greater Portland community.

“PCEF is something all Portlanders should be very proud of: The product of a diverse coalition that came together to demand climate action for communities left behind and reduce carbon emissions for the benefit of all, today and for future generations,” said Commissioner Carmen Rubio. “And this project perfectly embodies what PCEF can do for our city – it can bring people together to build the equitable, resilient community that Portlanders have told us they want.”

AAAH’s Power to the People PDX program offers a combination of education, home assessments and financial assistance for income-qualified homeowners to perform energy efficiency upgrades, install renewable energy systems and complete critical home repair.

"The PCEF inaugural grant award has enabled AAAH through the Power to the People PDX program to help lead the equitable transition to clean and efficient energy for Portland's BIPOC community. Through PCEF's support, we have been able to open pathways to the affordability, awareness, and adoption of efficient and renewable technologies that have been largely inaccessible to underserved communities," said AAAH Executive Director Cheryl Roberts.

Franteece participated in many AAAH educational webinars on energy efficiency topics, then decided she wanted to go solar. Assessment of her house identified that her roof was in good condition and had good solar exposure. She also had previously implemented energy efficiency upgrades in her home, including the installation of a heat pump water heater.

In April 2021, Portland City Council voted to approve the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefit Fund’s (PCEF) inaugural funding recommendation package to address the impacts of climate change and prioritize Portlanders most in need.  The Council vote approved $8.6 million to fund 45 grants to 38 organizations in the clean energy, regenerative agriculture/green infrastructure, and workforce development fields.

In that first round of funding, Portland’s AAAH applied for and won a $569,005 PCEF grant, which supported the development of the new community program, Power to the People PDX, offering a 3:1 matching fund to Portland homeowners for deep-energy retrofits and residential rooftop solar installations. The matching fund reduces the payback period for efficiency and renewable energy measures to fewer than three years. The program focuses on low-to-moderate income households of color. The Power to the People PDX program aims to complete 25 home energy efficiency retrofits and 30 solar installs.   

“PCEF is especially proud of this first successful solar installation for the AAAH team, as they are one of PCEF’s inaugural grantees,” said PCEF Program Manager Sam Baraso. “Looking forward, we are excited to announce the next round of grantees in early summer 2022 to launch many more projects that will benefit Portland’s vulnerable communities.”


Magan Reed

Communications Manager, Planning and Sustainability