California’s new Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) program, the nation’s largest investment in low-income residential solar for tenants, will begin accepting applications on July 1, 2019. The SOMAH program provides property owners with financial incentives for installing solar PV systems on housing serving low-income and disadvantaged communities throughout the state. The program will deliver clean power and credit on energy bills to hundreds of thousands of California’s affordable housing residents.
“As we continue our transition to 100% clean energy, we have the opportunity to increase distributed energy opportunities for low-income customers to benefit on their bills as well as in their environment. SOMAH is an intentional program that will ensure this transition is directly benefiting California’s most disadvantaged,” said Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves of the California Public Utilities Commission, which oversees the SOMAH program.
Prompted by California Assembly Bill 693, introduced by Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), the SOMAH program is funded for up to $100 million annually for 10 years from utility greenhouse gas allowance auction proceeds. Each solar project is required to provide direct economic benefits to tenants, allocating at least 51% of the clean energy produced to tenants in the form of virtual net energy metering credits, 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 Assemblymember Eggman. “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.”
Currently, interested participants can access sample application forms and other resources, register for contractor and property owner webinars and sign up for job training opportunities on the CalSOMAH.org website. The site will begin accepting incentive applications on July 1.
— Solar Builder magazine