San José Clean Energy’s community solar program saving some low-income customers $100 per month

San José Clean Energy (SJCE) has released details about the success of its first community solar program. The program offers more than 800 customers 100% solar energy at a 20% discount, which can be combined with other monthly discounts for savings of up to 55%. The average Access to solar energy customer saves $32 per bill and some save over $100 per month.

Thanks to the new program, customers who rent their homes, can’t afford to install solar, or whose homes aren’t solar-enabled will be able to take advantage of utility-scale clean energy at a discount. SJCE provides the solar power for customers and no solar panel installation or equipment is required. Eligible customers can: apply to be added to the program’s waiting list and as places become available; customers are enrolled on a first come, first served basis. Applications are accepted onlineby mail or telephone at 833-432-2454.

“I want to thank San José Clean Energy for their leadership in implementing a program like this for our residents,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “Too many of our communities are being disproportionately burdened by climate change and higher energy bills. Solar Access solves this by supplying clean power at a discount.”

SJCE worked with local community organizations to ensure that all eligible customers had the opportunity to hear about and apply for the program, including those without internet or who speak other languages. Partners included the International Children’s Assistance Network, Mujeres Empresarias Tomando Accion and the Alviso Community Fund.

Solar Access’s outreach campaign is a finalist for a Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion Award from the California Association of Public Information Officials. More than 80% of applications were submitted by phone or direct mail and more than 40% of applicants speak Vietnamese or Spanish.

“Programs like Solar Access are one of the many benefits of Community Choice Aggregation,” said Lori Mitchell, director of the Community Energy Department, which operates SJCE. “We are committed to working with the community to keep the needs of our customers at the forefront as we transition into a clean energy future.”

SJCE recently partnered with Renewable America to build a new solar facility that will provide energy to Solar Access customers. The West Tambo Clean Power project is under construction in Merced County and is expected to come online in April 2023. In the meantime, energy for Solar Access customers will come from an existing solar project in Corcoran, California.

Solar Access is available to residential customers enrolled in the California Alternate Rates for Energy Program (CARE) or Family Electric Rates Assistance Program (FERA) and living in a disadvantaged community, defined by the state as neighborhoods that are disproportionately affected by the environment. and socioeconomic burdens such as air pollution, poverty or a high incidence of asthma.

Solar Access is SJCE’s iteration of the state’s Disadvantaged Community-Green Tariff Program, which is administered by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). SJCE was allocated 1,736 MW by the CPUC, which is enough energy to power 800-850 households.

SJCE will launch additional CPUC programs later this summer that will provide significant discounts on energy-efficient appliances for eligible San Jose households, as well as energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades for businesses.

News report from the city of San Jose

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