A new solar power program for affordable housing began accepting customer applications on July 1 and, after one day and a knee-high stack of requests, is almost full.
The California Public Utilities Commission's Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing program received about 240 applications that would require the installation of about 74 MW of solar capacity at a cost of $163 million.
"We're pleased that the demand for SOMAH has materialized into so many applications," program manager Jae Berg said. "We interpret this as the program doing exactly what we planned—converting the energy consumption of a significant number of low-income tenants to solar power and enabling them to benefit from renewable energy and lower utility costs."
The program is due to receive funding of up to $100 million annually for the next 10 years from the California Climate Investments initiative. Incentive levels will be reduced annually starting July 1, 2020, either by 5 percent or based on a cost analysis by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, whichever is less, according to the program.
New applicants will be added to a waitlist and considered after the next cycle of funding is awarded, which likely will be during the first quarter of next year.
The SOMAH program is required by AB 693, which was approved in October 2015, and is outlined in a December 2017 CPUC decision. By Dec. 31, 2030, at least 300 MW of solar capacity must be installed under the program. About 3,500 properties and 255,000 individual households currently qualify for program incentives.