Equity Strategy

Incorporating Equity into Everything We Do

Our Equity Strategy

Customers who are in language isolated communities, low-income communities, rural regions, tribal areas, historic redlined neighborhoods, and other disadvantaged areas have consistently been left behind by technology advances and incentive programs because they do not have the disposable funds to participate or ability to overcome other language and location barriers.

The overall goal of TECH Clean California is to rapidly advance the adoption of clean space and water heating technologies through various structural changes to the markets and delivery systems across the state, including all Californians. The program ensures that equity is built into every facet of TECH Clean California’s operational structure to ensure we are reaching all of California.

Equity Work to Date:

Workforce Education & Training
Quick Start Grants
Low-Income Pilots
Low-Income Ambassador Panel


As of January 1, 2024, TECH Clean California has distributed the funds below to single and multifamily projects in disadvantaged communities based on CalEnviroScreen 4.0.

Channel Installations Spend
Multifamily 3,424 $3,939,000.00
Single Family 1,434 $3,511,713.04

Stay up to date with the current TECH Clean California Equity Incentive Budget and Spending Report below.

Financing for Low-Income Californians

Tariff on Bill (TOB) Pilot
TECH Clean California is partnering with Silicon Valley Clean Energy by providing technical assistance and ongoing support, including up to $3 million for risk management, to support the design and launch of a pilot Tariff on Bill program. TECH Clean California is also working with PG&E and SCE on their residential financing proposals to lay the foundation for scaling. Tariff on Bill will make financing energy efficient improvements easier for low-income customers.

California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA)
TECH Clean California contributes funds for projects related to heat pump space and/or water heating installations being financed through CHEEF. Seventeen percent of the funded installations to date have been in disadvantaged communities.

Workforce Education & Training

Participating contractors may receive free heat pump water heater units by taking extensive training from TECH Clean California and manufacturers. 12 percent of these units have gone to disadvantaged community areas.

Technology Equipment Donations
TECH Clean California donates heat pump units to trade schools and colleges students to learn on the newest equipment, including the Cypress Mandala Training Center in Oakland and Fresno City College.

Local Training
57 percent of TECH Clean California trainings have been conducted in high unemployment areas, and 60 percent of the attendees reside in high unemployment areas.

Quick Start Grants

Through our Quick Start Grant Program, TECH Clean California has funded 12 projects out of a total of 16 or 75 percent of Quick Start Grant recipients that have gone to equity, low-income, Native American, and disadvantaged community projects.

Low-Income Pilots

TECH Clean California funds two types of low-income pilot projects.

  1. Remediation based low-income pilots.
  2. TECH Clean California designed full electrification pilots.

Strategic Early Replacement Pilot Program (SER)

TECH Clean California is funding a direct install electrification pilot program in PG&E service territory in 2024 that will replace gas space heating, gas water heating, gas cooking and gas clothes dryer (in select homes) through a partnership with PG&E Energy Savings Assistance and California Energy Smart Homes. Goals of this project:

  1. Create a low-income business case for heat pump fuel substitution for customers who will benefit.
  2. Standardize income qualifications and equipment specifications across all low-income and equity programs.
  3. Standardize cost caps, remediation, and contractor payments across all low-income and equity programs.

Equity in Single and Multifamily Homes

Our overarching equity strategy is to address the funds, over $50 million dollars, spent annually by low-income programs for single-family homes in California and improve the process for replacing gas water heaters and furnaces in equity communities.

This strategy has three phases:

1. Create a low-income business case for heat pump fuel substitution for customers who will benefit.
2. Standardize income qualifications and equipment specifications across all low-income and equity programs.
3. Standardize cost caps, remediation, and contractor payments across all low-income and equity programs.

TECH’s Multifamily incentive offering allocates 75 percent of its budget to serve equity communities and continues to impact the lives of those living in low-income, multifamily buildings.

Equity in Our Pilots and Programs

With a 40 percent requirement for equity spending, TECH Clean California is uniquely positioned to create a significant positive influence on various income-qualified programs across California. A core imperative for the initiative is to reach income-constrained customers, as they face the most significant challenges in upgrading their living spaces and are disproportionately affected by severe weather events. Through dedicated initiatives and strategic partnerships, we are paving the way for a more equitable and sustainable future, where all Californians can access clean energy solutions and thrive in a safe and resilient environment.

Our Partners in Equity

ESA is an income-qualified energy efficiency program operated through each of the California IOUs and overseen by the California Public Utility Commission. Our Equity Pilot utilizes funds to fundamentally alter the PG&E Energy Savings Assistance (ESA) Repair and Replacement Program, the arm of ESA that installs gas furnaces and water heaters. We will test installing heat pump HVAC and heat pump water heater instead of gas units through the ESA program.

Full home electrification in areas with no gas service. TECH Clean California provided supplemental funding for currently ineligible expenses and identified common barriers to low-income customer participation.

TECH Clean California funds cover incremental costs of remediation and minor home repair required to install advanced high-efficiency measures, such as the heat pump water heater and HVAC technologies, in single family homes. Eligible remediation costs include insulation and ductwork as long as the same measures are not being claimed/paid through ESA.

TECH Clean California funds cover incremental costs of remediation and minor home repair required to install advanced high-efficiency measures, such as the heat pump water heater, in PG&E’s service territory.

TECH Clean California funds cover incremental costs of remediation and minor home repair required to install clean space and water heating measures in Southern California Edison’s service area.

TECH Clean California funds are utilized to leverage the LIWP Farmworker Housing program administered by the California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD), to test whether combining heat pump water heaters and solar installation will accelerate the adoption and installation of heat pump water heaters in farmworker housing.

Meet Our Low-Income Ambassador Panel


Steven Figueroa

Steven Figueroa is a dedicated community advocate with a lifelong commitment to service. Growing up in Compton and Paramount in the 60s and 70s, he started his involvement in politics at a young age, recognizing the importance of being engaged for change. His career has spanned various fields, including labor unions, real estate, and tax preparation. Transitioning to the private sector, he founded Figueroa Community Consulting Advocacy Businesses, assisting numerous businesses in Community and Government Relations. Steven is also an Education Advocate since 1985, having helped thousands of families with children with disabilities, making him one of the most active filers of Civil Rights complaints with the OCR. Despite health challenges, including severe chronic heart failure and injuries, he remains an active community leader, serving as President of the Inland Empire Latino Coalition, among other roles. His advocacy work has earned him numerous awards and recognitions, reflecting his unwavering dedication to making a positive impact on his community. He has also served on various boards, such as California Community Builders and the Riverside Hispanic Chambers, and has been an advocate for housing issues and civil rights.


Mauricio Blanco

Mauricio Blanco is an energy efficiency professional with over 20 years of experience designing, implementing, and managing low-income energy efficiency programs for California utility companies and the State of California. Mauricio spent 15 years at Southern California Edison where he was responsible for managing the Energy Savings Assistance Program. During his tenure with the utility, Mauricio served on the statewide standardization team that developed the Statewide Policies and Procedures Manual and the Weatherization Installation Standards Manual for the California utilities’ low-income programs.

Mauricio is currently a principal at MAROMA Energy Services which oversees the implementation of the department of community services and development’s Low-Income Weatherization Program for Farmworkers, and is the president and cheif executive officer of John Harrison Contracting, a service provider for the utilities and state of California’s low-income programs


José Atilio Hernández

José Atilio Hernández has worked for the past twenty-six years developing and implementing policy and systems solutions at the local, state, and federal levels. Currently, Mr. Hernández serves as the Founder and CEO of IDEATE California, a policy management firm, and the is the founder and Board Chair of ideateLABS, a non-profit policy think tank and training lab. In this capacity and related to energy, he works with California and Western States to advance energy and water equity issues, and in the business sector to expand access to emerging technologies. Mr. Hernandez also consults for national organizations like UnidosUS and Edison Electric Institute.


Abigail Solis

Abigail Solis is the daughter of agricultural workers and native of the San Joaquin Valley, who has dedicated her career to advancing equity and ensuring basic rights and services for disadvantaged communities across California’s Central Valley. Abigail holds the esteemed position of Central California Director of External Affairs in Governor Newsom's Office, where she plays a pivotal role in actualizing the Governor's vision for equitable access to state programs and enhancing investment in underserved communities. Her distinguished tenure at Self-Help Enterprises involved spearheading infrastructure improvements in low-income areas and leading groundbreaking climate and energy initiatives across the San Joaquin Valley. Her expansive career also encompasses impactful contributions to affordable housing and public health sectors. Renowned for her dedicated service on the Earlimart School District Board and her steadfast advocacy for small districts, Abigail was rightfully honored with the prestigious Clean Energy Champion Hall of Fame Award in 2021 by the California Energy Commission.


Violet Wulf-Saena

Violet Wulf-Saena is an acclaimed climate change expert with over ten years of international experience, notably with the UN's Least Developed Countries and Small Island States. As Samoa's first climate change officer, she led key projects including the nation's Greenhouse Gas Inventory and National Adaptation Program of Action. Based in the Bay Area, she now focuses on building community resilience against climate change and sea-level rise. In 2020, she established Climate Resilient Communities (CRC) to support communities of color facing climate challenges.

Wulf-Saena also serves as an equity program manager at BayCAN, an environmental justice advisor at BCDC, and a community advisory member at BAAQMD. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of the South Pacific, Fiji, and a Masters from Duke University, along with Postgraduate Diplomas from universities in Germany, the Netherlands, and New Zealand.


Federico Castillo

Federico Castillo is an environmental/agricultural economist with a PhD and undergraduate degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. Federico’s research is centered on technology transfer and innovation, economic valuation, the socio-economic impacts of climate change, the economic aspects of protected areas and migration. He is a member of a multidisciplinary team that is developing a research agenda on climate change, agriculture and population issues in the Berkeley Campus. He is currently engaged in research with scholars from The Tropical Agricultural Research Center (CATIE), the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), The Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) and the University of California, Davis dealing with ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change, the socio economic impact of weather extremes in California agriculture and climate change impacts on migration from Mexico to the United States. Federico has taught courses related to migration to the United States, natural resource economics, economics of climate change and sustainable business practices.


Tate Hill

Tate Hill has led Access Plus Capital as the president since July 2020. Prior to accepting the position of executive director, Mr. Hill served the organization as senior manager of administration, director of administration, and as interim chief executive officer leading fund development, strategic initiatives, and administrative functions.

Mr. Hill has also helped raise over $24 million in loan and grant funds, spearheaded the rebranding of Access Plus Capital, and brought on much needed systems for sustained growth. He has been an integral part of the expansion of Access Plus Capital, and with his guidance, what started as a program of Fresno EOC to help small refugee farmers in Fresno County has grown to provide capital to small and underserved businesses in a 14-county region throughout Central California.

An advocate for racial and economic justice, Hill is board treasurer of the Greenlining Institute and an executive committee member of the Fresno DRIVE Initiative, focusing his work on supporting low-income business owners and entrepreneurs of color.


Charlie Toledo

Charlie Toledo is of Towa descendent, native to New Mexico. Since 1992, she has been the Executive Director of the Suscol Intertribal Council, a community-based organization located in Napa, California. She has extensive experience as a public speaker, presenter, and community organizer in regional, statewide, national and international forums. Since 1982 she has worked in alternative healthcare fields, in addition to her background in mediation for individuals, families, and organizations. She has been an organic gardener with a lifelong commitment to social justice and international work on Human Rights and Environmental social justice issues.


Val Martinez

Val Martinez is the executive director of Redwood Community Action Agency, located in Eureka, California, serving rural Humboldt and Modoc counties. Val has over 40 years of experience working with low-income households in the energy and human services fields. She oversees a wide range of services including energy efficiency retrofit and home repairs programs, community planning partnerships, and many more.

Val is a firm believer in building, strengthening, and improving services for the low-income and disadvantaged members of communities through legislative, regulatory and program policy advocacy. She is a member of numerous boards such as the Board of Directors of the Association of California Community and Energy Services (ACCES); the Energy OutWest Board of Directors, a national consortium of state energy officials, technical experts and contractors that work to improve the quality and effectiveness of energy services throughout the United States and conduct a training conference every two years. She is also a member of the California State Department of Community Services Energy Council.


Luis H. Sanchez

Luis H. Sanchez has been chief executive officer of Community Resource Project (CRP) since 2016 and oversees the entire organization’s operations for their health programs, energy and educational programs with a highly skilled management team. He serves a nine-member board of directors overseeing a four-county operation with 120 employees.

With his leadership, CRP has participated in climate adaptation efforts and transformed several of their vehicle fleet to electric vans as a strategy to reduce CRP’s carbon footprint. CRP is also installing electric vehicle supply equipment charging stations for community access as CRP develops clean mobility options to meet low-income residents’ needs at their south Sacramento facility.

He has served on boards of various state, regional and national community organizations fostering better collaborations with local communities, government, and the private sector. He has also received recognition and awards from various organizations throughout his career.


Joe Coto

Joe Coto is an educator and an elected official. Mr. Coto served three terms as a member of the California State Assembly from 2004 to 2010, representing the 23rd district. Coto began his career as a teacher in the Oakland Unified School District. He worked in a variety of administrative positions and left the school district to serve as a city council member for the City of Oakland. After his four-year term on the city council, he ran for Mayor of Oakland. He returned to the school district and ultimately became Superintendent of the Oakland Public Schools in 1984. In 1988, he was recruited to serve as superintendent of the East Side Union High School District in San Jose and served in that position for the next 14 years. In recognition of his contributions as superintendent of East Side Union High School District, the Association of California School Administrators named him the 2003 Superintendent of the Year. As superintendent in San Jose, Coto supported Senate Bill 1051, promoting diversity in San Jose's school system. The legislation has since brought significant additional funding for school districts in East San Jose over the years. Coto was also able to bring nearly half a billion dollars in grant monies and improvement bonds to the East Side Union High School District.


Darlene Mar

Darlene Mar is a dedicated advocate with over 25 years of experience championing the concerns of small to medium-sized businesses and minority entrepreneurs at the local, state, and federal levels. Her extensive background and vast network have shaped her into a versatile consultant, nonprofit event planner, and proficient networking organizer. Currently, she holds significant roles, such as being a Greenlining Board Director, President of Friends of On Lok, and an advisor to the Asian Business Association of Silicon Valley. Her past endeavors include influential positions in nonprofits, public service roles, and corporate sector advisory roles, where she emphasized the importance of equal opportunities and open access. Darlene has received numerous awards for her leadership, and her educational background includes certifications and degrees from prestigious institutions. Her lifelong dedication to advocacy and community engagement makes her a true leader and advocate for positive change in society.