To find out if you live in a community that is eligible for the solar programs described below, use this map to look up your address. Income-qualified homeowners in eligible communities, please visit GRID Alternatives’ website to learn about having solar installed through the DAC-SASH program.  

Solar in Disadvantaged Communities

Assembly Bill (AB) 327 (Perea, 2013) directed the California Public Utilities Commission (the Commission) to develop specific alternatives designed to increase adoption of renewable generation in disadvantaged communities (DACs). This general directive is codified in  Public Utilities Code §2827.1(b)(1)

 After receiving robust input and feedback from stakeholders, in June of 2018 the Commission adopted the “Alternate Decision Adopting Alternatives to Promote Solar Distributed Generation in Disadvantaged Communities,” Decision ( D.)18-06-027. This decision created three programs that facilitate the installation of renewable generation in DACs and provide benefits of renewable energy to predominantly low-income customers in DACs. The programs are: the Disadvantaged Communities – Single-family Solar Homes (DAC-SASH) program, the Disadvantaged Communities – Green Tariff (DAC-GT) program, and the Community Solar Green Tariff (CSGT) program.

These programs are modeled after existing programs that have successfully increased access to renewable generation, but the versions adopted in June 2018 are targeted specifically to assist residential customers in DACs. Of the three programs, the DAC-SASH program is targeted toward income-qualified owners of single-family homes in DACs who can receive no-cost rooftop solar installations. The other two programs are targeted toward predominantly low-income customers who may not be able to install solar on their roof, such as renters. These programs are described in further detail below. All three programs are funded first through greenhouse gas (GHG) allowance proceeds. If such funds are exhausted, then they are funded through public purpose program funds.

 Some of the program rules discussed in D.18-06-027 were subsequently clarified or corrected in  D.18-10-007. Additional guidance on the DAC-GT and CSGT programs was also provided in  Resolution E-4999, discussed further below.

 

Defining Eligible Communities

To define disadvantaged communities that are eligible for these solar programs, the Commission relied upon the process the Legislature had previously created in  Health and Safety (H&S) Code Section 39711. Pursuant to that guidance, the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), in partnership with the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), developed a screening tool called  CalEnviroScreen which identifies California communities by census tract that are disproportionately burdened by and vulnerable to multiple sources of pollution.

CalEPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have used CalEnviroScreen to fulfill the legislative requirement to identify DACs in order to distribute certain funds from the GHG Reduction Fund. The agencies concluded that a “disadvantaged community” is a community that appears among the top 25 percent of census tracts identified by CalEnviroScreen statewide, as well as 22 census tracts in the highest 5 percent of CalEnviroScreen’s Pollution Burden, but that do not have an overall CalEnviroScreen score because of unreliable socioeconomic or health data. This is the same definition of DACs adopted for the  SOMAH program and D.18-06-027 thus followed precedent in adopted this definition for the three solar programs in disadvantaged communities.

The current version of CalEnviroScreen is CalEnviroScreen 3.0, which was updated in June 2018. D.18-06-027 found that if the CalEnviroScreen methodology is updated again in the future, the revised version of CalEnviroScreen should be used to identify DACs for the solar in disadvantaged communities programs.

 DACs eligible for these solar programs can be explored by clicking here.

To learn more about the Commission’s work with disadvantaged communities click here.

 

Program Descriptions

Disadvantaged Communities - Single-family Solar Homes (DAC-SASH) 

The Disadvantaged Communities - Single-family Solar Homes (DAC-SASH) program, modeled after the Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) Program, provides assistance in the form of up-front financial incentives for the installation of rooftop solar generating systems. The DAC-SASH program is available to income-qualified, resident-owners of single-family homes in DACs. To qualify for DAC-SASH, households must be eligible for the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) or the Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) programs.

The incentives provided through DAC-SASH will assist low-income DAC customers in overcoming barriers to the installation of solar energy, such as lack of capital or credit needed to finance a solar installation. The DAC-SASH program offers one non-declining incentive level of $3/watt CEC-AC for systems between 1 kilowatt (kW) and 5 kilowatts (kW). DAC-SASH clients will receive energy efficiency training and their systems will be sized based on the energy savings that can be achieved through feasible energy efficiency measures. Finally, the DAC-SASH program incorporates job training intended to promote green-collar jobs in low-income communities and to develop a trained workforce that will foster a sustainable solar industry in California.

The DAC-SASH program has an annual budget of $10 million per year beginning January 1, 2019 through the end of 2030, for a total program budget of $120 million. Through a competitive solicitation, GRID Alternatives was selected to serve as the statewide program administrator for the DAC-SASH program. Please visit GRID's DAC-SASH website for more information on participating in DAC-SASH.

Disadvantaged Communities - Green Tariff (DAC-GT)

The Disadvantaged Communities - Green Tariff (DAC-GT) program is modeled after the Green Tariff portion of the Green Tariff/Shared Renewables Program (GTSR). The DAC-Green Tariff program, like DAC-SASH, is available to residential customers who live in DACs and meet the income eligibility requirements for the CARE and FERA programs. The DAC-Green Tariff program procures 100% renewable energy on behalf of customers while providing them a 20 percent rate discount compared to their otherwise applicable rate. Thus, the DAC-GT discount is on top of any CARE or FERA discount the customer receives. The DAC-GT program will allow customers who are not in a position to take advantage of SOMAH or DAC-SASH to choose clean energy options without the need to own their home and without the cost of installing their own distributed renewable energy generation systems.

Similar to the Green Tariff program, DAC-GT projects can be between 500 kilowatts (kw) and 20 megawatts (MW) but projects must be located in eligible DACs. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison Company (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) will offer the DAC-Green Tariff to their customers consistent with D.18-06-027. PG&E's, SCE's, and SDG&E's implementation plans for the DAC-GT were approved with modification in Resolution E-4999. In addition, Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) who serve residential customers in DACs are eligible to offer their own DAC-GT programs as long as they are consistent with all program requirements. The DAC-GT program is capped within each utility's service territory as follows, with some capacity reserved for CCAs:

  • PG&E: 70MW
  • SCE: 70MW
  • SDG&E: 18MW

Community Solar Green Tariff (CSGT)

The Community Solar Green Tariff (CSGT) program is a variation on the Green Tariff/Shared Renewables Program. It is structured similarly to the DAC-Green Tariff program and procures 100% renewable energy on behalf of customers while providing them a 20 percent rate discount compared to their otherwise applicable rate.

Unlike the DAC-GT program, the Community Solar Green Tariff program requires each CSGT project to be located in proximity to the customers it serves. Thus, the CSGT program will allow primarily low-income customers in disadvantaged communities to benefit from the development of solar generation projects located in their own or nearby disadvantaged communities. The program provides these customers a sense of ownership in locally-generated solar power via the required participation of a community sponsor. For example, the community sponsor will help ensure interest from the local community and community engagement in project siting. If eligible, community sponsors may be able to receive a bill discount on up to 25 percent of a CSGT project's energy output. There is no minimum project size for the CSGT program but projects must be 4.4 MW or smaller, depending on the jurisdiction, and must be located in DACs.

The CSGT program is available to residential customers who live in DACs as well as residential customers who live in the San Joaquin Valley pilot communities identified in D.17-05-014. At least 50% of a project's output must be subscribed to by customers who meet the income eligibility requirements for the CARE and FERA programs. While projects will be sited to give communities a sense of community ownership, there is no direct contractual relationship between customers and developers of CSGT projects. Similar to DAC-GT, load serving entities will enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the developer.

PG&E's, SCE's, and SDG&E's implementation plans for the CSGT program were approved with modification in Resolution E-4999. In addition, Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) who serve residential customers in DACs are eligible to offer their own CSGT programs, as long as they are consistent with all program requirements. The CSGT program is capped within each utility's service territory as follows, with some capacity reserved for CCAs:

  • PG&E: 18MW
  • SCE: 18MW
  • SDG&E: 5MW

 


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