The Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) Program

Implementation of AB 693

Assembly Bill (AB) 693 (Eggman, Chapter 582, 2015) provides financial incentives for the installation of solar energy photovoltaic (PV) systems on multifamily affordable housing properties throughout California.  The statute, among other things, prescribes criteria for participation in the incentive program; sets targets for installation of solar PV systems; identifies various required elements for the Program; and gives direction to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on the administration of the Program.

Key components of the legislation, and the forthcoming program, include:

  • Directing $100 Million, annually, from the electric IOU's Greenhouse Gas Auction Proceeds towards subsidized solar energy systems on Multifamily affordable housing.
  • Encourages development and installation of solar systems in California's disadvantaged communities across the state
  • Emphasizing the explicit goal that incented solar systems lower the energy bills of tenants of low-income multifamily housing
  • Develop, by December 31, 2030, at least 300 megawatts of installed solar generating capacity

In response to the legislation, the CPUC, in proceeding R.14-07-002, issued a Ruling to stakeholders seeking input on the design, implementation, eligibility and other programmatic issues for the new program.  Nearly 25 parties provided over a thousand pages of comments in response to the ruling.

In December 2017, the CPUC issued D.17-12-022 which outlines the program design for the Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) Program. The Decision builds on many of the program successes and lessons learned from the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) Program. For additional information on the SOMAH Program and Decision, please consult this press release.

Following the issuance of D.17-12-022, the CPUC's Energy Division selected via a competitive bidding process, a single, statewide program administrator team.  The SOMAH Nonprofit Administrative Partnership (SNAP) team is comprised entirely of non-profit organizations: the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), GRID Alternatives, the Association for Energy Affordability (AEA), the California Housing Partnership Corporation (CHPC) and Rising Sun.

Those interested in learning more about the SOMAH Program should visit the program's website:

Recent News and Quick Links

  • On June 5, 2020 Resolution E-5054 is issued. The Resolution approves revisions to the SOMAH Program Handbook to limit participation of a photovoltaic (PV) project to either the SOMAH Program or the MASH Program 
  •  April 23, 2020: D.20-04-012 issued.  The decision determines revenues are available and that there is adequate participation and interest in SOMAH program, continuing authorization of allocation of funds to the SOMAH program through June 30, 2026.
  • July 1, 2019: SOMAH Program opens for incentive applications
  • April 10, 2019:  SOMAH PA holds first of several Contractor Eligibility Trainings.  Presentation slides available here.
  • April 5, 2019: CPUC issues Decision D.19-03-015 providing more flexibility in IOU administrative expenditures outlining options for future actions regarding the auditing or review of the SOMAH program, and establishes deadlines for the execution of the necessary co-funding and incentive agreements to launch the program.
  • April 3, 2019:  Energy Division disposes of San Diego Gas and Electric's Advice Letter (AL) 3285-E Submittal that provides additional information regarding establishment of a Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing Balancing Account (SOMAHBA) pursuant to Decision (D.)17-12-022.
  • April 2, 2019:  Resolution E-4987 approves with modifications the SOMAH Program Handbook Program Implementation Plan in Compliance with Decision (D.)17-12-022
  • October 1, 2018:  The draft SOMAH Program Handbook & Program Implementation Plan submitted to CPUC.
  • July 26, 2018:  Deadline for submitting written comments on the draft SOMAH Program Handbook
  • July 12, 2018:  SOMAH Program Handbook Public Workshop held to solicit feedback on the draft handbook.
  • March 29, 2018:  Energy Division selects the Center for Sustainable Energy/GRID Alternatives/Association for Energy Affordability team be awarded the contract for the Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) Program Administration.
  • February 13, 2018:  Southern California Edison (SCE), on behalf of the California electric investor owned utiilties (Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), Liberty Utilties Company, and PacifiCorp), issues and RFP seeking an experienced program administrator interested in bidding on an upcoming statewide Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) Program Administration.
  • December 14, 2017:  CPUC issues Decision D.17-12-022 creating the SOMAH program.

Applying for SOMAH Program Incentives

For information on how to apply for incentives in your area, please contact the SOMAH Program website:

SOMAH Program Regulatory Proceeding Documents

The SOMAH Program Handbook

  • To view the latest edition of the SOMAH Program Handbook, click here.

SOMAH Weekly Projects & Budget Reports

  • SOMAH Program Administration budget reports are posted semi-annually and available here.  Once there, scroll down to the Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) Program header and click the Semi-Annual Expense Report link.
  • SOMAH Program Semi-Annual Reports are available here.

SOMAH Evaluation

Pursuant to AB 693, D.17-12-022 and PU Code 2870(j)(1) and PU Code 913.8, Energy Division is directed to provide regular evaluations to the legislature of the SOMAH Program.

  • The Final Phase I 2020 SOMAH Process and Impact Assessment Report can be located here.
  • The 2020 SOMAH Process and Impact Assessment Draft Report Webinar Slides can be located here
  • The 2020 SOMAH Process and Impact Assessment Draft Research Plan Public Webinar Slides can be located here.
  • The Final 2020 SOMAH Process and Impact Assessment Research Plan can be located here.

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