The California Public Utilities Commission on July 1 implemented a solar incentive program that will provide up to $100 million per year to low-income multifamily housing properties across the state.
The Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing program plans to install about 300 MW of solar capacity by 2030 and will offer financial incentives to property owners to do so.
“As we continue our transition to 100 percent clean energy, we [can] increase distributed energy opportunities for low-income customers to benefit their bills as well as their environment,” Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves said. “SOMAH will ensure this transition is directly benefiting California’s most disadvantaged.”
Each solar project is required to supply at least 51 percent of its power to building tenants. A project must result in lower energy bills for tenants; be installed on a building with at least five housing units that has been classified as low-income residential, multifamily housing; and provide job-training opportunities for community members and tenants.
“The impacts of this program will go well beyond its contribution to our clean-energy mix,” said California Assm. Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-San Joaquin County). “It will leave more money in families’ pockets and make housing more affordable, provide growth opportunities for local solar businesses, and create jobs. It’s a win for everyone.”
Available funding for the program is dependent upon cap-and-trade auction revenues, meaning there is no guarantee of funding in future program years, the CPUC said. All funded projects must be connected to the local distribution system as well. For a solar system with greater than 1-MW capacity, the owner will be responsible for any interconnection costs or requirements.
The program implements requirements of AB 693, passed in October 2015.