Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has started offering a new $10.3m funding for multifamily affordable solar housing (MASH) program, which offers rebates to buy solar energy for families in disadvantaged communities in Northern and Central California.
Supported by the MASH program, solar energy can lower monthly energy costs for tenants, improve the quality of low-income multifamily housing and drive more clean energy in the state.
Through the MASH program, PG&E offsets the costs of installing new solar energy systems on multifamily affordable housing buildings, providing clean energy for tenants as well as in common areas like hallways, stairwells and laundry rooms. On average, the program financially supports about 40 percent of the solar system equipment and installation for an apartment building.
"The real benefit of solar in California is when everyone has access to it regardless of location or income – which is exactly what the MASH program aims to achieve. Supporting access to solar energy for all is a win for our customers, and a win for the state's clean energy goals," said Aaron Johnson, vice president of PG&E's Customer Energy Solutions.
In addition to expanding solar energy in disadvantaged communities, the MASH program also increases job training in the clean energy industry by requiring at least one trainee work on each project. Since it started in 2008, the program has:
Directly benefitted more than 3,600 families across Northern and Central California
Provided $33 million in funding for rooftop solar on multifamily buildings like apartments and condos
Supplied about 15 megawatts of solar energy, equivalent to powering more than 6,000 homes
How the program works
Typically, solar contractors apply for the MASH program on behalf of property owners of multifamily developments in disadvantaged communities. After the solar system is installed, the MASH program provides financial rebates based on the size of the system and how much of the solar energy is allocated to tenants. The benefits of solar can be split among the tenants and common areas, with residents seeing lower monthly bills as they use solar for electricity during the day.
Any building with customers participating in the MASH program are required to go through an energy efficiency audit to ensure their facility is energy efficient before going solar, which can save money in upfront costs by allowing for smaller solar systems. Additionally, tenants are informed of energy efficiency programs they may be eligible for, such as PG&E's Energy Savings Assistance Program that offers free energy-saving improvements for customers on PG&E's California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) Program.