California Adopts Low-Income Solar Incentive Program
The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on November 16 adopted an unprecedented $108 million program that delivers incentives to low-income, single-family homeowners under the California Solar Initiative program.
The California Solar Initiative Single-Family Low-Income Incentive Program is the first statewide low-income solar program to be implemented at this scale. The California Solar Initiative's goal is to drive the installation of 3,000 megawatts of high-performing new solar installations in the state over the next 10 years, moving the state toward a cleaner energy future. In adopting the California Solar Initiative, the PUC allocated 10 percent ($216.7 million) of the program's total budget for the installation of solar systems on low-income residences.
The low-income program will provide incentives for solar installations on single-family, owner-occupied homes. The remaining $108 million is reserved for a low-income program for multi-family residences, currently under development.
The program will provide incentives that range from $4.75 to $7 per watt, as compared to the general market California Solar Initiative program, which began with subsidies of $2.50 per watt. The incentives will subsidize roughly 50 to 75 percent of the photovoltaic system, and they are expected to be available to approximately 5,000 qualifying homeowners. The Single-Family Low-Income Incentive Program Manager will help incentive recipients find loans and grants to cover the remaining cost of the system. Unlike the general market California Solar Initiative program, the incentives will not decline as the number of megawatts installed grows.
The program will also reach out to California's lowest-income households who cannot afford to take out loans to cover the cost of the system by providing fully-subsidized, 1kW photovoltaic systems for qualifying homeowners with incomes up to 50 percent of the area median income. The program will provide these fully subsidized systems to approximately 1,800 qualifying households.
"California has the second largest solar incentive program in the world. Through the Single-Family Low-Income Incentive Program approved today, our goal is to provide low-income homeowners access to solar photovoltaic systems, to decrease electricity usage and reduce bills without increasing monthly expenses," said PUC President Michael R. Peevey. "By enabling low-income households to purchase photovoltaic systems, this program will help ensure that all Californians have an opportunity to avail themselves of the benefits provided by the clean energy technologies this Commission so ardently supports, including solar."
For more information visit: www.gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov/affordable/sash.php