Let there be sun: Aera-funded solar project begins powering Boys and Girls Clubs of Kern County
With the flick of a switch, Aera Energy CEO and President Christina Sistrunk turned on the power of the new 75,000-watt solar project at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County Aug. 12, launching a new source of energy for the nonprofit’s main building in east Bakersfield.
The project and its 234 rooftop solar modules will generate the electricity needed to run the Armstrong Youth Center, the hub for club activities serving thousands of local children each day.
“As your neighbors in this community, we believe we have a vital role in helping you achieve your mission and vision for the young people who enter your doors, and we thank you for taking this on,” Sistrunk said.
The solar-generated power will save the nonprofit $60,000 or more in annual energy costs – “money that can now be reinvested in our children,” said Zane Smith, Boys & Girls Clubs’ executive director. The project also included replacing the building’s leaky roof.
“We’ve been dreaming about this moment for 23 years, for as long as this building has been standing,” said Smith. “Thank you, Aera Energy, for the support and generosity so important in our community.”
Aera funded the project with a $280,000 donation.
“Back in January, we had the honor of announcing our donation to start the construction of a new roof and solar system,” Sistrunk said. “What we didn’t know was that we would have one of the wettest springs on record. It was a challenge, but we are so happy to have the project completed.”
Among those attending the roof and solar-launch ceremony were Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh, City Councilman Andrae Gonzales and staff members of Assemblyman Vince Fong, Congressman TJ Cox and State Senator Shannon Grove.
Also on hand were representatives of companies that helped build the project, including Streamline Solar, Wilson Brothers Roofing, PG&E and the architectural firm of Skarphol Frank Associates.