REDI History

Home Energy Link Program (HELP) Successful completion of a pilot project for City of Willits that is continuing and expanding, to assist low- and moderate-income residents by identifying eligibility for rebates, assisting with paperwork and follow through to implement conservation measures and efficiency improvements in the home, and to obtain rebates that offset or fully pay for costs of implementation.

Solarizing the City of Willits In cooperation with WELL and others, REDI participated in drafting a plan for our own City ofWillits to invest in a large solar-electric system for City public facilities. In January 2006, the Willits City Council unanimously voted to approve the plan, which will immediately reduce the cost of utilities to the City annually.

Partnerships and Clients Served REDI has worked with teams of others — such as Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program contractors —  to provide strategies for expanding renewable energy in California. On another project, REDI helped the California Energy Commission to develop an online directory of renewable energy resources. We have also provided services to cities and counties, helping local communities to establish their own sustainable energy systems.

Sustainable Transportation Projects have included zero-emission electric vehicle demonstrations, solar recharging for EVs,the Rally events such as Tour de Mendo and California EcoCar Challenge, and vehicle-share program research with Willits Economic Localization (WELL).

Biomass System & Gasifiers Working with local innovator and mentor Ed Burton and his company, EBC, we have explored and fabricated the technology of biomass and wood gases for sustainable fuels as fossil fuel reserves decline. Forest fire risk reduction methods use non?polluting, solar-powered electric tools and equipment to reduce flammable brush and smallwoods in the forest, while creating product materials and renewable fuels.

Financing and Energy Loan Funds (ELF) In cooperation with the “Million Solar Roofs” program — a national initiative of President Clinton’s administration — REDI recognized that one barrier to public investment in solar energy was the lack of affordable capital. Consequently, REDI’s contribution led the way to long-term, low-interest financing of home solar-electric installations. With our local Bank of Willits’ leadership, the effectiveness of this effort was realized with Fannie Mae’s endorsement of REDI’s program for its entire network of lending institutions. Later we worked with utilities in Hawaii to establish revolving loan funds to install solar water heaters. Now we are establishing a similar fund here in Willits, the Energy Localization Fund (ELF) that we hope to grow and replicate widely.

REDI Conference Hosted in Willits in 1993 and 1995, this conference brought together a diverse group of stakeholders for the first time — state regulators, utility company executives, independent solar installers, engineers, academics, and inventors. REDI facilitated statewide energy policy that would ultimately affect all Californians. This meeting also brought visitors’ dollars to our town.

Solar Energy Expo & Rally (SEER) Held in Willits and Ukiah, California, in 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1994, each SEER attracted about 10,000 people over the weekend, with 300 exhibitors, 200 speakers and workshops, scores of volunteers, and dozens of experimental vehicles. It was a resounding success  in terms of education, creation of a networking database, and visitors’ dollars spent locally.

Public Outreach REDI’s programs have reached thousands of people through the Internet, government brochures, professional seminars, hands-on learning, and other methods. The public served includes: K-12 students and teachers,  low-income households, homeowners, business professionals, service contractors, civil service personnel, and elected officials.