Green Innovations Help Skid Row Residents, Too


Innovative Solar Electric System Installation Adds To On-Going Environmental Partnership

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 11 /PRNewswire/ — Actor, director and Enterprise Community Partners Board Trustee Edward Norton, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, dignitaries and formerly homeless residents gathered today at 9:30 a.m. at the St. George Hotel in downtown Los Angeles to celebrate the first solar electric system installation for a low-income, multiunit building on the West Coast. Celebrating another milestone of the BP Solar Neighbors Program(TM), special ceremonies at the St. George Hotel in L.A.’s Skid Row honored an effort started in 2003 to combine celebrity power with green innovations for communities in need.

“The St. George project is a perfect example of the great things that happen when government, community organizations, business and philanthropy work together,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “This is an innovative, creative project, and it’s an exciting step both to making Los Angeles the greenest big city in America and to confronting our city’s homelessness challenge.”

The historic St. George, architecturally refurbished and re-opened in 2004, provides permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless residents and is one of several buildings owned and operated by Skid Row Housing Trust. It is the first West Coast multiunit site chosen as part of the BP Solar Neighbors Program which was established to help low-income families by lowering their utility expenses while avoiding environmental impact through the use of clean solar power.

“Enterprise has a long history of collaboration with the Skid Row Housing Trust. We’ve helped them develop architecturally realized residences that provide not only critical supportive services but a sense of pride and dignity that restores confidence and sustains recovery for people who are formerly homeless,” said Jeff Schaffer, Enterprise Southern California director. “We are proud to help add this green innovation to an already innovative refurbishment.”

Through the program, BP donates a solar electric system to a low-income family when a celebrity purchases a system for installation. Over the years, BP and Enterprise have successfully installed solar systems on 42 low-income single-family homes in South Los Angeles and a similar multiunit building in New York City. In Los Angeles, the program also receives additional funding from the South Coast Air Quality Management.

“Many people perceive environmentally friendly practices as costly and available only to the wealthy,” said Mr. Norton, the leading force behind the creation of the Solar Neighbors Program and grandson of Enterprise Co-Founder James Rouse. “We need to expand our awareness of the many ways environmentally sustainable development and construction can apply to affordable housing. The installation of the BP solar panels on the St. George is a great example of a dynamic solution to our intensifying economic and environmental crisis.”

After celebrity-sponsor Will Ferrell installed a BP Solar system on his home, an 8.4 kW system consisting of 48 solar panels was presented to the St. George. The system is expected to generate savings of approximately $2,000 annually in utility expenses for the Skid Row Housing Trust.

“Every home powered by solar energy helps us keep our air clean and helps to stop global warming. The BP Solar Neighbors’ project has installed dozens of solar systems and demonstrated the benefits to homeowners of investing in this technology,” said Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti. “Now, the St. George Hotel project will demonstrate the feasibility of solar powering multi-family housing.”

Through the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Solar Incentive Program, the project also benefits from $30,000 in rebates, which will be put back into the program to fund future solar installations.

“The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is proud to be part of this historic renewable effort,” said LADWP Chief Executive Officer and General Manager H. David Nahai. “It demonstrates our commitment to clean, renewable energy and expanding opportunities for low-income customers and communities. The LADWP has expanded its solar program, as well as its energy efficiency and is moving forward to having 20 percent of our energy from renewable sources by 2010.”

“Through the BP Solar Neighbors Program, we are able to help low-income families reduce their energy bills and their impact on the environment through the use of solar power,” said Geoff Slevin, vice president of sales and marketing for BP Solar. “We thank Will Ferrell for his commitment to a cleaner environment and for making possible the donation of the solar system to the St. George Hotel.”

Skid Row Housing Trust is recognized as a national leader for its “housing first” concept that recognizes permanent supportive housing as a successful solution for the formerly chronically homeless. The Trust and its architects have won several awards for innovative designs.

Enterprise is a leading provider of the development capital and expertise it takes to create decent, affordable homes and rebuild communities. For 25 years, Enterprise has pioneered neighborhood solutions through public-private partnerships with financial institutions, governments, community organizations and others that share our vision. Enterprise has raised and invested $8 billion in equity, grants and loans to help build or preserve 225,000 affordable rental and for-sale homes to create vital communities. Enterprise is currently investing in communities at a rate of $1 billion a year. Visit and to learn more about Enterprise’s efforts to build communities and opportunity.

BP Solar, part of BP Alternative Energy, is a global company with over 2300 employees. BP Solar designs, manufactures and markets products which use the sun’s energy to generate electricity for a wide range of applications in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. With over 30 years of experience and installations in more than 160 countries, BP Solar is one of the world’s leading solar companies having 228MW annual manufacturing capacity in 2007, plus another 700MW capacity under construction. BP Solar has solar cell and module manufacturing plants in Sydney, Australia; Bangalore, India; Madrid, Spain; and Frederick, MD, USA; and module manufacturing in Xi’an, China. BP Solar invests more than $10m annually in photovoltaic research and development. For more information, please visit or

SOURCE Enterprise Community Partners

© 2007 PR Newswire. All Rights Reserved.


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