Right on cue after our Install Inequality feature this week, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted three new programs to promote the installation of solar energy to serve customers in disadvantaged communities.
“Transitioning to a clean economy must include all Californians. Targeting solar investments in low income and disadvantaged communities will help ensure that all Californians have access to all the benefits of solar, whether on their roofs or nearby in their neighborhoods,” said Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves.
The programs approved include
1) The Disadvantaged Communities – Single-family Solar Homes (DAC-SASH) program, modeled after the existing Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) Program, will provide up-front financial incentives toward the installation of solar systems for low income homeowners. The program will be available to low income customers who are resident-owners of single-family homes in disadvantaged communities. The incentives will assist low income customers in overcoming barriers to the installation of solar energy, such as a lack of up-front capital or credit needed to finance solar installation.
2) The Disadvantaged Communities – Green Tariff (DAC-Green Tariff) program will provide a 20 percent bill discount to customers in disadvantaged communities. This will allow customers to choose clean energy options without the need to own their home and without the cost of installing their own solar systems. The program is modeled after the existing Green Tariff portion of the Green Tariff/Shared Renewables Programs. It will be available to customers who meet the income eligibility requirements for the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) and Family Electric Rate Assistance programs.
3) The Community Solar Green Tariff program is similar to the DAC Green Tariff program, and will also provide a 20 percent bill discount. This program will allow primarily low income customers in disadvantaged communities to benefit from the development of solar generation projects located in or near their communities. The communities will work with a local non-profit or local government “sponsor” to organize community interest and present siting locations to the utility; the sponsor can also receive an incentive for its efforts.
Both the DAC-SASH and DAC-Green Tariff programs will be funded first through greenhouse gas allowance proceeds. If such funds are exhausted, the programs would be funded through public purpose program funds.
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