The Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) Program
Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH)
Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) program provides incentives for solar energy photovoltaic systems for multifamily affordable housing. Those interested in learning more about the SOMAH Program should visit the program's website: www.calsomah.org.
Key Components of the SOMAH Program:
- A budget up to $100 Million annually, collected through June 2026, from the electric IOUs' Greenhouse Gas Auction Proceeds for this solar program
- Incentive levels for customers go up to $3.50 per AC Watt for load serving tenants and $1.19 per AC Watt for load serving common areas (as of March 16, 2023) and are dependent on tax credit usage for the project
- Encourages solar system installations in California's disadvantaged communities across the state
- Emphasizing the explicit goal that incented solar systems lower tenant energy bills
- Develop, by December 31, 2030, at least 300 megawatts of installed solar generating capacity
Implementation of SOMAH
Assembly Bill (AB) 693 (Eggman, Chapter 582, 2015) provides financial incentives for the installation of solar energy photovoltaic 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 program administration.
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 a decision, D.17-12-022, which outlines the program design for the SOMAH Program to incentivize solar systems. The Decision builds on many of the program successes and lessons learned from the California Solar Initiative Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing Program, which ends in 2021. Pursuant to this Decision, the utilities also created the SOMAH virtual net energy metering (VNEM) tariff. Virtual net energy metering allows the credit from an eligible renewable generator to be shared between multiple benefitting accounts. A property owner assigns benefits (from the renewable generator or generators) to a property's common area and tenant accounts. Solar credits show on customer bills as energy offsets (kWh) and receive export credit compensation ($/kWh) from the utility when there are net exports in a given time period. Learn more about net energy metering here.
In March 2018, the CPUC's Energy Division selected via a competitive bidding process, a single, statewide program administrator team. The SOMAH Program Administrative team is comprised entirely of non-profit organizations: the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), GRID Alternatives (GRID), the Association for Energy Affordability (AEA), and the California Housing Partnership Corporation (CHPC). On July 1, 2019 SOMAH began accepting applications.
Incentive levels for program applicants range up to $3.50 per AC Watt for renewable capacity serving tenants and $1.19 per AC Watt for renewable capacity serving common areas. The incentive levels are dependent on tax credit usage for the project and expected performance of the eligible renewable generator(s). The program also has a mandate that incented renewable energy generation systems lower tenant energy bills through the SOMAH virtual net energy metering tariff. The SOMAH program encourages solar system installations in California's disadvantaged communities (DAC) as defined by CalEPA pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 39711. For the SOMAH program, this is defined as DACs that score in the top 25 percent of census tracts statewide in the CalEnviroScreen tool from either the current or previous version. It also includes the 22 census tracts that are in the highest 5% of the CalEnviroScreen’s Pollution Burden.
Applying for SOMAH Program Incentives
For information on how to apply for incentives in your area, please go the SOMAH Program website and select your utility provider under “Ready To Apply”: https://calsomah.org/apply
To be eligible your property must:
- Be deed-restricted, low-income residential housing
- Have at least five rental units
- All units must be separately metered
- Be an existing building
- Be a utility or community choice aggregator (CCA) customer in the following utility territories: Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric, Liberty Utilities or PacifiCorp.
- Satisfy one of the following either 1) 80% of the property residents have incomes at or below 60% of the area median income or 2) property is in a defined disadvantaged community (DAC).
Recent News for SOMAH
- SOMAH incentive levels have been raised up to $3.50/watt for tenant areas and $1.19/watt for common areas and the incentive step-down has been ended (D.23-03-007 Amending D.17-12-022).
Upcoming Events for SOMAH Proceedings and Reports
- On May 5, 2023, the Commission issued a ruling as part of Rulemaking (R.) 14-07-002 asking for input on the SOMAH program. Opening comments are due on June 2, 2023 and reply comments due on June 16, 2023.
- The SOMAH virtual net energy metering tariff is part of Rulemaking (R.) 20-08-020. Visit NEM Revisit (ca.gov) to learn more about this ongoing proceeding.
- SOMAH program event information can be found here: https://calsomah.org/events
Click on the link to go to the relevant section below.
SOMAH Regulatory Proceeding Information
|SOMAH Program Information|
|SOMAH Decisions, Rulings, and Advice Letters||SOMAH Program Website|
|Net Energy Metering (NEM) Information||SOMAH Program Handbook|
|SOMAH Program Semi-Annual Reports|
|SOMAH Joint-IOU Semi-Annual Reports|
|SOMAH Evaluation Reports|
The CPUC Rulemaking R.14-07-002 currently handles all issues related to the SOMAH Program. Decisions and regulatory matters include:
- Decision D.17-12-022 (December 2017) establishes the SOMAH program
- Resolution E-4987 (April 2019) approves with modifications the SOMAH Program Handbook Program Implementation Plan in Compliance with Decision (D.)17-12-022. Adopted Program Implementation Plan (CSE 92-E-A/GRID 12-E-A) and Program Handbook (GRID 11-E-B). The Program Handbook has been updated since this initial filing.
- Advice Letter 3285-E Disposition (April 2019). Disposes of San Diego Gas and Electric's advice letter that provides information regarding establishment of a Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing Balancing Account (SOMAHBA) pursuant to D.17-12-022
- Decision D.19-03-015 (April 2019) modifies D.17-12-022 providing flexibility in IOU administrative expenditures. It also outlines options regarding auditing or review of the SOMAH program and establishes co-funding and incentive agreement deadlines
- Decision D.20-04-012 (April 2020). 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
- Resolution E-5054 (June 2020) 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
- Disposition of CSE Advice Letter 133-E/133-E-A (April 2022) which approves SOMAH Program Handbook 5th Addition.
- Decision (D.) 22-09-009 amended D.17-12-022 SOMAH forecast budgeting process the IOUs can propose to set aside their proportionate share of $100 million for SOMAH, if they adequately show that the IOUs' collective revenue will exceed $1 billion.
- CSE AL 138-E-A was approved on March 6, 2023 (Energy Division Disposition Letter). CSE Advice Letter 138-E to update the SOMAH Handbook was submitted on September 29, 2022, with substitute sheets provided on November 9, 2022, and December 14, 2022. A supplement 138-E-A was submitted on February 10, 2023.
- Decision (D.) 23-03-007 amended D.17-12-022 incentive levels to raise the highest incentive level possible to $3.50/watt for tenant areas and $1.19/watt for common areas and ends the annual incentive step-down.
- CSE AL 141-E (with substitute sheets from 5/15 and 5/31) was approved on June 12, 2023 (Energy Division Disposition Letter). It amends the Program Implementation Plan and Handbook in compliance with D.23-03-007.
If you wish to receive notice of proceeding information the public can join the proceeding as “information only,” follow the instructions here.
Pursuant to D.19-03-015, the electric IOUs must jointly file and serve semi-annual reports detailing their administrative expenses incurred in support of the SOMAH Program for the preceding six full months and show cumulative totals. The revised Excel template (as of December 2021) for the IOUs is here.
- July 21, 2023 Joint IOU Report (PDF)
- January 21, 2023 Joint IOU Report (PDF, Excel)
- July 21, 2022 Joint IOU Report (PDF, Excel)
- January 21, 2022 AMENDED Joint IOU Report (PDF, Excel)
- July 21, 2021 Joint IOU Report (PDF, Excel)
- January 21, 2021 AMENDED Joint IOU Report (PDF, Excel)
- July 21, 2020 Joint IOU Report (PDF, Excel)
- January 21, 2020 Joint IOU Report (PDF, Excel)
- July 21, 2019 Joint IOU Report (PDF, Excel)
Pursuant to Appendix B of D.17-12-022 the Program Administrator submits semi-annual reports to the Director of the Energy Division on progress of the SOMAH program. These reports are also available on California Distributed Generation Statistics.
- July 30, 2023 Program Administrator Report (PDF, Excel)
- January 1, 2023 Program Administrator Report (PDF, Excel)
- July 30, 2022 Program Administrator Report (PDF, Excel)
- January 31, 2022 Program Administrator Report (PDF, Excel)
- July 30, 2021 Program Administrator Report (PDF, Excel)
- January 1, 2021 Program Administrator Report (PDF, Excel)
- July 30, 2020 Program Administrator Report (PDF)
- January 1, 2020 Program Administrator Report (PDF)
The most recent SOMAH Program Semi-Annual Expense Reports can also be downloaded on DG Stats here.
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.
- 2023 Triennial SOMAH Evaluation Report (Appendix F includes Evaluator Response to Comments)
- 2023 Triennial SOMAH Evaluation Research Plan
- 2023 Triennial SOMAH Evaluation Research Plan Response to Comments
- 2022 Vendor Assessment Report and the “Response to Recommendations” Table
- 2021 Phase II Evaluation Report and Appendix (Appendix Zip File)
- Phase 2 Evaluation Report “Response to Recommendations” Table. The SOMAH PA and the IOUs have responded to public comments here.
- 2020 Phase II SOMAH Process and Impact Assessment Research Plan
- 2020 Phase I SOMAH Process and Impact Assessment Report
- SOMAH Process and Impact Assessment Research Plan
Evaluation webinar slides:
- 2023 Triennial SOMAH Evaluation Report Presentation
- 2023 Triennial SOMAH Evaluation Research Plan Presentation
- 2021 Draft Phase II Evaluation Report Webinar Slides located here.
- 2020 Phase II SOMAH Process and Impact Assessment Draft Report Webinar Slides located here.
- 2020 SOMAH Process and Impact Assessment Draft Report Webinar Slides located here.
- 2020 SOMAH Process and Impact Assessment Draft Research Plan Public Webinar Slides located here.
CALIFORNIA DISTRIBUTED GENERATION STATISTICS
For income qualified households, statewide programs:
For income qualified households in disadvantaged communities only:Disadvantaged Community Green Tariff (DAC-GT) Bill Credits