Sunrun commits to 100 MW of solar on affordable multi-family housing

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Sunrun Inc. is expanding its low- and moderate-income solar offering plans to develop a minimum of 100 MW of solar on affordable multi-family housing — in which 80 percent of tenants fall below 60 percent of the area median income — over the next decade in California. Sunrun’s commitment, when fully deployed, will directly benefit at least 50,000 moderate and low-income households.

The installations will be done through building owners at no cost to the tenants.

“Sunrun is built on the foundation that solar energy should be accessible to everyone,” said Lynn Jurich, Sunrun co-founder and Chief Executive Officer. “In offering affordable home solar to residents in low and moderate-income housing, we’re able to support the communities that often experience the most harmful effects of pollution and climate change. This expansion further illustrates the essential role of home solar in improving people’s livelihoods, supporting a healthier environment, and building a more resilient energy system, for everyone.”

As we’ve noted, the lack of plans for solar in the the LMI and multifamily housing sector is holding back massive potential. Smart legislation in the California, such as the affordable housing solar roofs program, has empowered companies like Sunrun to expand access to solar. To date, 39 MW of solar have been installed on affordable multi-family dwellings through the California Public Utilities Commission’s Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) program, and will continue through its successor program, Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH). Sunrun’s commitment aims to satisfy one-third of the SOMAH program’s goal of 300 MW of solar on affordable housing by 2030.”

In addition to its commitment in California, Sunrun is also introducing a discounted electricity rate to low-income residents in Nevada, supported by the state’s RenewableGenerations program, which comes shortly after Sunrun joined the Connecticut Green Bank Program. The company also will continue its six-year partnership with GRID Alternatives. Sunrun has helped install 2.5 MW of solar for 260 families, and generated significant job opportunities for GRID trainees. Sunrun employees have also volunteered over 4,500 hours with GRID.

— Solar Builder magazine

Sunrun provides details on its Florida solar leasing plan — big emphasis on storage

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Sunrun Inc. made the push to change Florida’s rules concerning solar leases and is now officially ready to offer solar-as-a-service and its Brightbox home battery in the Sunshine State. Beginning June 7, Floridians will be able to lease solar equipment that enables them to create their own solar electricity year-round using their rooftop, as well as the Brightbox home battery system, that keeps lights on during power outages this hurricane season. Sunrun is the nation’s largest residential solar, storage and energy services company.

Home solar is expected to continue its expansion in Florida through this offering, with Sunrun aiming to bring hundreds of jobs to the state in the coming years.

“Freedom is a value Americans hold dear. In offering Floridians solar-as-a-service, households in the Sunshine State are given the freedom to make, control, and store their own energy,” said Lynn Jurich, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Sunrun. “Unfortunately, too many Floridians have experienced first hand the effects of extreme weather and power outages. Home solar and batteries provide peace of mind and backup power when disaster strikes, keeping food fresh and the lights on.”

RELATED: Time for use? How to prepare PV systems today for storage tomorrow

Sunrun’s solar-as-a-service product in Florida is an affordable, easy and reliable way for people to power their homes without dealing with the upfront cost of solar panels, equipment and installation. Sunrun also fully maintains and insures the system, offering households an accessible and hassle-free option for going solar.

In addition to solar-as-a-service, Sunrun will also begin offering its home solar and battery system, Brightbox. Brightbox provides backup electricity to households in the event of a power outage. During Hurricane Irma, more than 15 million Floridians lost power. This translates to more than 70 percent of the state’s population. In total, there were more than 14 collective days without power in Florida in 2017, coming from 79 individual outages. Brightbox enables households to power through storms and outages.

Unlike a generator, Brightbox is recharged daily by the sun and reliably delivers clean electricity. This home battery system can replace noisy natural gas or diesel generators commonly used for backup power, and could have significant health and community benefits in Florida.

“Sunrun’s new solar lease will give Central Florida residents greater access clean energy choices, lower energy costs, and continued momentum for local job growth in our state’s renewable energy market,” State Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) said. “This is the Sunshine State and Floridians should be able to take full advantage of an abundant, emissions-free energy source that contributes to a healthier community while remaining affordable.”

“As an advocate for consumer choice, I am excited to see new options for Floridians that will make solar more affordable and accessible to residents across the state,” said State Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg). “With our population projected to grow by five million people by 2030, the time for Floridians to invest in energy diversity is now.”

Sunrun now has a presence in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

— Solar Builder magazine

Massachusetts solar workers to rally at state house Wednesday to fend off demand charges

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With the end of the legislative session quickly approaching, solar workers from across the Commonwealth will rally at the Massachusetts State House May 16 at 10 a.m. to urge the Legislature to act in support of the state’s solar industry. This comes at a critical time for the Commonwealth’s solar industry, which continues to fend off attacks at the state and federal levels. A recent report by the Solar Foundation found that solar jobs in Massachusetts – after nearly a decade of growth – saw a double-digit decline in 2017 for the second consecutive year.

Recently, six industry organizations and leading advocates representing Massachusetts’ 488 solar employers joined forces to call on Governor Baker to support legislation to reverse new solar surcharges on Eversource customers, providing relief from net metering caps (limits on the credit solar energy system owners receive), and ensuring the state Solar Massachusetts Renewable Targets (SMART) program enables all sectors of the Commonwealth’s solar industry to thrive.

Following a rally on the front steps of the State House, workers and leaders from the solar industry will meet with Massachusetts policymakers to urge them to protect the Commonwealth’s solar workforce from further declines through action on the net metering caps, SMART program tariff, and undoing the poorly designed Monthly Minimum Reliability Contribution (MMRC) charge on new solar customers in Eversource territories.

— Solar Builder magazine

Sunrun rides Nevada solar resurgence, opens new branch in-state

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Sunrun Inc., the nation’s largest residential solar, storage and energy services company, is celebrating its expanding operations in Nevada with a ribbon cutting at our new branch opening.

Sunrun’s expansion in Nevada comes during a resurgence in home solar in the state. As Vote Solar recently announced, applications for home solar in Nevada are on the rise – from 287 in 2016 to 3,308 in 2017. This job-creating growth is the direct result of the federal solar investment tax credit combined with forward-thinking state legislation that restored proven, simple, and effective net metering policies for solar households.

Governor Sandoval signed AB 405 into law last June, which reopened the solar market in Nevada. The law recognizes the incredible consumer demand for the freedom to choose solar and establishes protections for homeowners seeking to install home solar and batteries through the Renewable Energy Bill of Rights.

RELATED: Florida votes to allow Sunrun solar system leases

“There’s never been any doubt that Nevadans want home solar,” said Ed Fenster, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of Sunrun. “Today’s return to growth is only possible because state leaders took action to protect Nevadans’ rights to make their own clean energy. Our growing customer and employee base thank them.”

“As the country’s number one producer of solar energy per capita, the expansion of companies like Sunrun in Nevada will further establish the state’s leadership in renewable energy production,” said Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV). “By investing in solar, Nevada has not only continued its commitment to renewables and protecting the environment, the rise of the solar industry has also provided jobs to thousands of Nevadans and has spurred substantial economic growth.”

“The solar industry is growing Nevada’s clean energy economy and creating good-paying jobs, and I’m thrilled to see Sunrun hiring new workers and expanding their operations right here in Congressional District 3,” said Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (NV-03).

Sunrun has rehired dozens of workers in the state and is rapidly growing operations. The ribbon cutting was held at Sunrun’s new branch in Henderson, Nevada.

— Solar Builder magazine

Hawaii reforms utility incentive structure to focus on ratepayer benefits

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Hawaii is reforming the old timey model for how investor-owned electric utilities get paid. Thanks to Governor David Ige signing SB 2939, future utility revenues — in the form of performance incentives or penalties — will be linked to performance metrics. This includes incentives for Hawaiian utilities to connect more customer-sited solar and battery systems.

“This is an important step forward to align the design of our electricity system with the needs of the public,” said Robert Harris, Director of Public Policy at Sunrun. “This new law breaks the direct link between revenues and utility investments in infrastructure,meaning Hawaii’s electric utilities no longer make more money just by spending more. ”

In passing the bill, the Hawaii State Legislature voiced concern about the high cost proposed to modernize the electric grid. Because of misalignment in the way electric utilities get paid, the Legislature was concerned utilities would have “a bias toward expending utility capital on utility-owned projects that may displace more efficient or cost-effective options, such as distributed energy resources owned by customers . . .”

RELATED: Our big takeaway from SEIA’s latest Grid Modernization report: Utilities need to step up

“This bill is a big win for local consumers who will pay less for better electric service with more options for home solar and batteries, and it is a responsible step forward helping utilities transition to a sustainable business model that can survive disruption in the energy sector,” said Hawaii State Representative Chris Lee, Chair of the Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection.

“We need to better align the electric utility’s interests with the public’s interest,” said Anne Hoskins, Chief Policy Officer, Sunrun. “The future is going to be a more dynamic and customer-centered energy system, and we must ensure we maximize public benefit and meet broader economic and environmental goals.”

Sunrun recently published a report detailing recommendations to improve and maximize the public benefits of the United States’ energy system by placing the consumer at the center. With the passage of the Ratepayer Protection Act, Sunrun looks forward to working collaboratively with the utility and others in HI to advance a more reliable, clean and affordable energy system

“Other state Legislatures and Commissions should take notice of Hawaii’s efforts,” said Hoskins. “The time to make these changes is now, before billions of dollars are spent in rebuilding our outdated electrical networks. Rooftop solar and home batteries are allowing use to choose a system that maximizes public benefits, not utility shareholder profits. Let’s keep giving people the freedom to create a brighter future.”

— Solar Builder magazine