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Celebrating Climate Action - 2022 Year in Review

Foundation

Hammond Climate Solutions’ 2022 highlights: 

  • We publicly changed our operations from a social enterprise to Hammond Climate Solutions Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3), which is allowing us to broaden our impact!
  • Our climate policy efforts helped: 
  • Push for a solar-friendly net metering agreement 
  • Provide feedback for the City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan update and the County of San Diego’s Regional Decarbonization Framework 
  • Launch the Fossil Fuel Free Pledge! 
  • Provide input for San Diego County’s District 3 Environmental Roundtable 
  • The programs and projects we manage continued to make a positive impact in communities across the country:
  • We helped over 20 nonprofit organizations go solar this year through our Solar Moonshot Program and passed the $1,000,000 per year fundraising goal
  • We managed $8,387,418.01 in recoverable grants, which helped nonprofits nationwide afford the switch to clean energy and energy storage
  • We continued managing two e-bike pilot programs and assisted our client BQuest Foundation in supporting an e-bike program for De Anza College in Cupertino, California  
  • We oversaw the installations of an EV charging station at a San Diego-based nonprofits serving communities of concern with two more underway
  • Four more California Electric Vehicle Incentive Project (CALeVIP) rebates that we had applied for were given the green light to proceed, totalling $52,000 
  • In Q1, we accepted two awards - the first was the San Diego Green Building Council’s Sustainable Organization award, and the second was for our founder and executive director, Tara Hammond, who was one of the San Diego State University Alumni’s Rising Aztec winners
  • Our team proudly served in leadership roles on a number of boards and committees including:
  • California Alliance for Community Energy (Steering Committee) 
  • GRID Alternatives (San Diego Board of Directors) 
  • SanDiego350 (SouthBay Eco Justice team) 
  • San Diego Green New Deal Alliance (Steering Committee)
  • San Diego Community Power (Community Advisory Committee and Executive Ad Hoc Committee)
  • Climate Defenders Action Fund (Board of Directors) 
  • San Diego Climate Hub (Hub Manager) 

As 2022 comes to a close, we wanted to reflect on all we have accomplished this year as well as share what we have in store for 2023. From fighting for the equitable and sustainable expansion of the rooftop solar industry to successfully advocating for comprehensive and legally-binding climate action plans to managing clean energy initiatives, this year has been packed with local, statewide and national climate action alongside many amazing partners. Thank you for supporting our work! 

Net Energy Metering 

After a two and a half year battle, the California Public Utilities Commission made a final decision on the future of rooftop solar and approved a new net energy metering tariff. Unfortunately, the decision benefits the investor-owned utilities and will slow California’s advancement towards 100 percent clean energy, using fossil fuels for a longer duration, which accelerates the climate crisis and worsens climate injustices. The tariff makes drastic cuts to the credits customers receive for sharing excess energy with neighbors and makes solar more expensive for everyone, including low-income Californians who are currently paying a disproportionate amount of income towards skyrocketing energy costs. 

Although we are outraged that the commission has sided with the investor-owned utilities and has disregarded the thousands of letters and public comments from climate organizations, nonprofits, schools, cities, elected officials and climate justice organizations urging them to keep rooftop solar growing, we want to take a step back celebrate what our coalition was able to accomplish throughout the course of the proceeding. 

In mid-2020 we were asked by the Solar Rights Alliance to gather San Diego climate leaders to help build a statewide coalition, which became the Save CA Solar coalition, and we are so proud of the coalition’s work. San Diego was a leader in addressing this issue with the most public comments in opposition coming directly from San Diegans. This is undoubtedly due to the amount of work local organizations poured into organizing public comments, giving presentations, meetings with elected officials, organizing rallies and speaking with the media (read more about one of our successful solar rallies here). Although this decision is far from a win, we were able to: 

  • Stop the solar tax 
  • Prevent changes to existing customers 
  • Defeat Assembly Bill 1139, the “anti-solar bill”
  • Build a diverse statewide coalition of over 600 

For now, we will celebrate what we were able to change but this decision serves as a reminder that there is still a lot of work to do to dismantle the fossil fuel industry's influence on politics and to achieve true energy and climate justice. For more background on this topic, check out www.HelpCleanEnergy.org

Local Policy Highlights 

While our team fought endlessly for good policy change at the statewide level, we also helped effectively bring some big changes at our local level in 2022. The City of San Diego passed a comprehensive Climate Action Plan update, which included bold targets for the region to meet in the coming years. More importantly, it came with a promise of an implementation plan and funding plan to be released in early 2023, something the last Climate Action Plan was lacking and resulted in little to no progress on the plan. 

At the San Diego County level we helped provide important feedback for the Regional Decarbonization Framework. While the final plan has not been approved, local climate organizations are committed to ensuring this framework is not only comprehensive but provides a path for implementation and includes how we will transition workers from our current gas infrastructure as we decarbonize. We were also invited and participated in the San Diego County District 3 Environmental Roundtable strategy meetings. 

Finally, our team was proud to serve as technical stakeholders to help with the development of a number of local programs and climate boards, most notably, the development of the City of San Diego’s new Climate Advisory Boards, which will advise the city on numerous issues ranging from energy and land conservation to building electrification and stormwater issues.     

Fossil Fuel Free Pledge 

The Fossil Fuel Free Pledge, which was launched by SanDiego350, Surfrider San Diego, BikeSD, San Diego Coastkeeper and Hammond Climate Solutions Foundation, disrupts the fossil fuel industry’s anti-climate agenda by celebrating and providing transparency regarding where nonprofit organizations, elected officials and candidates receive funding. Those who take the pledge commit to not accepting money from fossil fuel companies, demonstrating dedication and seriousness to combatting the climate crisis, dismantling the local fossil fuel industry’s influence and prioritizing a healthy, equitable, ethical, just transition and sustainable world. 

Since the pledge’s soft launch during Earth month, there have been nearly 35 pledgees and we plan to expand the pledge categories in the coming months! To read more about the August launch event, click here, and to take the pledge, please fill out an application on the campaign website: www.fossilfuelfreepledge.org

Solar Moonshot Program

Our Solar Moonshot Program continues to effectively make positive change by assisting nonprofit organizations across the country in adopting clean energy. To date, the Solar Moonshot Program has secured $3,150,000, which so far has assisted over 100 nonprofits, deploying 5,458kW of solar and offsetting 136,049 metric tons of carbon dioxide. These projects are reducing emissions, offering solar and energy storage education to the community, supporting green jobs and allowing nonprofits to save money on utility bills that are reinvested into their missions. 

In recent months we have supported over 20 projects across nine states. The projects range from educational facilities to food pantries, affordable housing and more. Collectively, these projects equate to 853.25kW of solar power, have supported countless green jobs and will reduce the use of dirty energy contributing to climate racism and the climate crisis for decades to come. 

There are always more solar projects to fund. If you know of a foundation, philanthropist or company interested in supporting the Solar Moonshot Program, further expanding our impact, please reach out to maya@hammondclimatesolutions.com.  

New Electric Bike Program

We are excited to be taking part in our fourth electric bike (e-bike) program. This program, in partnership with De Anza College, Cupertino Rotary and BQuest Foundation, will benefit low-income students at De Anza College. The e-bike loaner program will allow students to get to and from the college more easily and provide them with a reliable form of transportation while simultaneously reducing their carbon footprint. The college will be launching this loaner program with 23 e-bikes and we look forward to seeing how the student body benefits as well as how many vehicle miles are offset by the e-bikes!

Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

While there are many public funds available for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, the process of applying for them and ultimately securing them can be daunting and burdensome for nonprofit organizations with little resources. 

We have helped the BQuest Foundation  secure rebates from the California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program (CALeVIP), which when paired with the foundation's grants, brings EV charging stations to nonprofit organizations serving communities  at zero cost to the nonprofit.

Our efforts this year have helped secure $42,000 in rebates for nonprofits serving communities of concern across the region and EV charging installations for three nonprofits have been installed or are close to being installed. 

Looking Forward 

In addition to continuing our climate advocacy and policy efforts, climate advising and existing climate programs like the Solar Moonshot Program and our e-bike programs, we plan to expand the Fossil Fuel Free Pledge to other focus areas as well. We’ll be sharing details on other programs for 2023 in the coming weeks, some of which will serve as pilot programs and proof of concept to lay the foundation for bigger programs for cities, community choice programs and legislation. 

Connect with us on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter) and to ensure you receive updates in the future, sign up for our newsletter.

We look forward to working with all of you in 2023 to create a more just and livable future!

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Newsom cuts climate program funding to address budget deficit in a climate emergency

The 2023-2024 budget Governor Gavin Newsom released earlier this month makes cuts to some of the state’s most impactful climate programs and initiatives due to a decline in the state’s General Fund.

In 2022, California saw the devastating effects of the climate crisis as wildfires, droughts, floods and record-breaking heat waves impacted our most vulnerable communities across the state. It is clear that California needs to take aggressive measures to accelerate the state’s transition to clean energy, reduce carbon emissions and transform our transportation system. Unfortunately, while it is clear that the state should increase funding for climate initiatives, the 2023-2024 budget Governor Gavin Newsom released earlier this month makes cuts to some of the state’s most impactful climate programs and initiatives due to a decline in the state’s General Fund. 

We often say that communities of concern are often hit first and worst with the impacts of the climate crisis, and California is witnessing that now with multi-family affordable housing complexes being flooded, infant mortality rates increasing in areas where there is significant air pollution as a result of fossil fuels and long term health issues like asthma and cancer have higher occurrences in communities of concern. 

Transportation 

With transportation being responsible for more than half of the state’s carbon emissions, it is clear that climate investments in transportation need to be prioritized not only for the state to meet its climate goals, but also because pollution from transportation is causing long term adverse health outcomes for communities of concern. In 2022, the state budget included $13.8 billion for transportation programs for projects to advance rail and transit connectivity, improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians and incentives for zero emission vehicles. This year, the budget includes a $2.7 million reduction in funding from last year making billion dollar cuts or delays in funding for programs. 

Energy    

Although the Governor’s budget states that California “prioritizes affordability, reliability and safety as the state encourages efforts to decarbonize the grid and scale deployment of clean energy generation and storage,” programs to transform our energy system are among the programs with the most drastic cuts in funding compared to last year’s budget. The 2023-24 budget proposes a reduction of $897 million in General Fund and an additional $370 million in General Fund in delays to future years. 

One of the programs with the most drastic cuts in funding is for Low Income Residential Solar and Storage. The program will suffer a reduction of $270 million for solar and storage incentives in 2023-24, just as the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has finalized a decision to cut rooftop solar benefits for future customers

Another program to suffer reductions is the Equitable Building Decarbonization Program at the California Energy Commission, which not only includes a delay of $370 million in funds for this year, but also a reduction of $87 million for in the 2025 budget. 

Extreme Heat and Community Resilience 

In 2022, California experienced record-breaking heat waves that put a massive strain on our energy grid and resulted in deaths across the state. Despite knowledge of the fact that heat waves will continue to get worse as the climate crisis accelerates, funding for programs to address extreme heat and provide relief for communities suffered the most cuts in funding of any of the climate related programs, with a $735 million reduction across programs. 

Programs affected include the Extreme Heat and Community Resilience Program with a $25 million reduction, which is a 43 percent reduction compared to last year as well as programs to develop community resilience centers, which suffered a delay of $85 million to 2024.     

With a reduction or delay in funding to nearly every single climate program, some more than others, it does not seem as though the state government, which claims to be a leader in addressing climate change is prioritizing funding for programs but more importantly, not prioritizing the health and safety of the frontline communities who suffer the disproportionate impacts of climate change. 

Read more in Governor Newsom’s budget summary.    

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Solar Moonshot Program - 2022 Highlights

Hammond Climate Solutions Foundation has had the privilege of running its Solar Moonshot Program for three consecutive years now. To date, the Solar Moonshot Program has had a $1,000,000 budget per year, which has made solar and storage projects possible to over 100 nonprofit organizations across 27 states, deploying 5,458kW of solar and offsetting 136,049 metric tons of carbon dioxide. These projects are reducing emissions, offering solar education to the community, supporting green jobs and allowing nonprofits to save money on utility bills that are reinvested into their missions. 

In 2022 alone we have supported over 20 solar projects across nine states. The solar and storage projects range from educational facilities, food pantries, affordable housing complexes, schools and more. Collectively, these projects are deploying 853.25kW of solar and offsetting 21,266.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide that otherwise would be accelerating the climate crisis. This is the equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions from 24,585 passenger vehicles per year and carbon dioxide emissions from 23,436,242 pounds of coal burned.

The following organizations have received grants this past year and are collectively helping combat the climate crisis:

We are extremely thankful for the generous support of Left Coast Fund, BQuest Foundation and an anonymous donor who have funded these grants and share our passion of combating the climate crisis and prioritizing communities of concern. The Solar Moonshot Program would not be where it is today without their support.

We are happy to announce funding for the 2023 Solar Moonshot Program! If you are part of a nonprofit organization that is interested in applying for a Solar Moonshot Program grant, please find the application here: www.solarmoonshot.org. We encourage you to follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter) to check out our weekly #SolarSaturday posts that highlight grant recipients, the nonprofits’ inspiring missions as well as how solar positively benefits communities and the globe.

If you know of a foundation, philanthropist or company interested in supporting the Solar Moonshot Program, further expanding our impact, please reach out to maya@hammondclimatesolutions.com.

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Californians rally across the state to show support for rooftop solar

On December 1, hundreds of Californians across the state rallied, presumably one last time, to show their support for rooftop solar ahead of the California Public Utilities Commission's December 15 meeting, where they will vote on an anti-solar proposal.

On December 1, hundreds of Californians across the state rallied, presumably one last time, to show their support for rooftop solar ahead of the California Public Utilities Commission's December 15 meeting, where they will vote on an anti-solar proposal.  

Over the course of two years, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has had a proceeding open to make changes to the state’s net energy metering (NEM) program, with the investor-owned utilities and their surrogates on one side of the isle advocating for drastic cuts to the benefits rooftop solar customers receive while environmental and climate justice organizations, schools, churches, nonprofit organizations, unions, Community Choice Energy providers, consumer protection groups and others on the opposite end advocating to keep rooftop solar growing in California and to make it more accessible. 

In December 2021, the CPUC released a proposed decision that included a fee for solar which essentially taxed solar customers simply for having solar interconnected to the grid (and providing local clean energy) and included retroactive changes to current solar customer agreements. Thankfully, our coalition of over 600+ organizations across the state representing millions of people put enough pressure on both the CPUC and Governor Gavin Newsom, which caused the governor to publicly tell Californians that the proposal needed more work. Since then, our coalition has continued to hold numerous rallies, call in to several CPUC voting meetings to make public comments (with some public comment periods lasting over seven hours), hold meetings with elected officials and submitting letters to Governor Newsom. 

Finally, last month, the CPUC released their anxiously awaited revised proposed decision, which is still way too extreme and would send solar off of a cliff. The proposal includes a dramatic 75 percent reduction to the credits customers receive for sharing their excess energy with their neighbors. Cutting these credits means solar will not pencil out for nonprofits, schools, churches and working class families across the state. In San Diego where we pay the highest rates in the nation for energy, rooftop solar is the only way for working class families to alleviate the burden of skyrocketing energy costs. Solar and storage is a clean way to provide reliable backup power when the utilities cut off power, which is happening more and more frequently, helping families maintain needed medical equipment while avoiding potentially wasting perishable food.

At the San Diego solar event today, one of 10 in the state held at 11 a.m., activists and solar installers who are concerned over their jobs rallied in front of St. Stephen’s Church of God in Christ, a church that has been a pillar of the community that has just recently installed solar panels to help with the cost of energy bills and be able to reinvest money back into the community. Pastor Glenn McKinney spoke to the CPUC and state leaders directly, “We should be gathering at churches like ours to celebrate going solar, not having to ask state leaders to halt their efforts to make solar less accessible to everyone, especially communities of concern and nonprofit organizations.” He continued by sharing why it's important for rooftop solar to remain an option for communities of concern. “We do not have a robust tree canopy like some communities and it’s getting hotter and hotter here in San Diego where we pay the highest energy rates in the nation. Without rooftop solar, we have no other options than to pay for expensive energy that’s making fossil fuel companies and their shareholders a lot of money while San Diegans are forced to choose to pay their energy bill or medicine or food”.

The CPUC will vote on the proposal on December 15 and our coalition knows the power we have when we stand together and make our voices heard. Please visit helpcleanenergy.org to see how you can help!      

   

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