PG&E's Local Green Saver program provides access to local solar power and a 20% electric bill discount for customers in select communities.
- The solar power must come from projects built within a 5-mile radius of their community (or 40 miles of their community for projects within San Joaquin Valley Pilot communities).
- Each solar project built requires an advocate to lead, or "sponsor" the effort.
- Sponsors act as solar advocates for their communities. See "Sponsor information" below to learn more about becoming a sponsor.
Benefits for subscribers within select communities
- Allows anyone access to solar, including renters and homes unsuitable for solar rooftop installation
- Opportunity to receive 100% of their electricity from renewable energy
- Uses renewable energy generated within or near their community
- Provides a 20% discount on electricity bills on top of applicable CARE/FERA discounts for eligible customers
- Participants are not required to be low-income, but low-income customers have first priority. 50% of the project must be reserved by low-income customers in order for non-low-income customers, including the project sponsor(s), to be eligible for the Local Green Saver discount.
For local solar projects to be built, local community leaders are required to sponsor their development in partnership with solar developers.
- Sponsors must determine whether they are in a qualifying community. See "Sponsor Eligibility" below for specific requirements.
- To qualify as a participating sponsors, sponsors must be PG&E customers and meet the other eligibility criteria
- Sponsors must be a nonprofit, community-based organization (such as a school, church or Community Choice Aggregator) or local government.
- For a sponsor to be eligible for the 20% bill discount, 50% of the project’s capacity must be subscribed by low-income customers. The sponsor must also meet the following:
- Be based in a disadvantaged community or tribal community
- Disadvantaged communities are those census tracts identified by CalEnviroScreen 3.0 and/or 4.0 as among the top 25% most burdened census tracts statewide. Also eligible are census tracts in the highest 5 percent of CalEnviroScreen’s Pollution Burden that do not have an overall CalEnviroScreen scores because of unreliable socioeconomic or health data.
- Be located in proximity to the project (census tract border within five miles of the project, or 40 miles for projects located in San Joaquin Valley Pilot communities)
- Be based in a disadvantaged community or tribal community
- Sponsors may subscribe up to 25% of the project’s output.
- A project may have more than one sponsor.
- Identify and work directly with a renewable developer to execute solar project
- Provide a letter of commitment to developer (see "Frequently asked questions" below for more detail)
- Verify siting preferences or recommend a solar site for approval
- Make efforts to promote job training/local workforce development
- Generate community interest according to plan submitted in letter of commitment
- Positively impact your local community environment through increased clean energy use
- Influence job creation within the local community
- Be eligible to receive a 20% discount off your electric bill, capped at 25% of project output, once 50% of the project’s capacity is subscribed by low-income customers.
- Find and partner with a solar developer.
- Prepare to provide the necessary support (see “Sponsor Responsibilities” section).
- If you wish to post your organization’s name and contact information for developers to contact you, email them to email@example.com.
What is the monthly PG&E discount for Community Solar Sponsor?
Sponsors can receive a 20% savings on their PG&E energy statement. The monthly savings is capped at 25% of the project output.
Can the bill savings be shared with another sponsor?
Yes. If two or more sponsors are designated, the sponsors will need to inform PG&E in writing of how the bill savings are allocated between them.
What is a Disadvantaged Community (DAC)?
- Also eligible are census tracts in the highest 5 percent of CalEnviroScreen's Pollution Burden that do not have an overall CalEnviroScreen scores because of unreliable socioeconomic or health data.
What must be included in the letter of commitment from sponsors?
In the Request for Offers (RFO) process, the solar developer must provide a letter of commitment from a sponsor that includes:
- Demonstration of substantial interest of community members in subscribing to project
- Estimated # of subscribers, with justification to ensure project is sized to likely demand
- A preliminary plan to conduct outreach and recruit subscribers (which may be conducted in conjunction with the developer and/or the utility); and
- Siting preferences, including community-suggested host sites, and verification that the site chosen for the bid is consistent with community preference.
Will I receive funding to create outreach materials?
Project sponsors may receive funding through a Marketing, Education and Outreach (ME&O) budget that will be set by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
How does community solar compare to rooftop solar?
For many customers, rooftop solar can be a good option. However, almost half of commercial rooftops are unsuitable for solar because of structural, shading or ownership issues. This program provides customers an easy way to participate in solar without installing or maintaining their own solar panels.
Is there a long-term commitment for enrolling customers?
No. There is no contract required when enrolling for PG&E's Local Green Saver program.
- Enrolled customers may leave the program at any time, but will not be eligible to re-enroll for one year.
- The maximum length of participation is limited to the life of the solar project, or 20 years, whichever is less.
Can I start getting solar energy immediately?
First, developers and sponsors must respond to one of PG&E's Request for Offers (RFO). PG&E conducts these twice per year. If a bid to approved, and a Power Purchase Agreement (PPAs) has been awarded, projects can begin construction. Then, once 25% of the project's capacity is subscribed to by low-income customers, defined as those meeting the qualifications for either the CARE or FERA programs, the facility may come online.
Sponsors will be conducting the marketing and outreach to gain participant enrollment. Participants will begin receiving bill discounts on their monthly energy statement when the renewable project to which they subscribe to is online and delivering energy.
Another milestone for sponsor enrollment is to ensure that at least 50% of the project's capacity is subscribed to by low-income customers before non-low income residential customers and/or the project sponsor(s) will be eligible to enroll and receive bill credits and solar energy.
Could the programs sell out?
Yes. The programs will remain open for enrollment until subscriptions reach PG&E's program cap, which is currently 14.2 MW.
Is there a minimum system size needed for a project to be eligible?
No, there is no minimum. Any system size is eligible to participate.
May I remain in the program after enrollment has closed?
Yes, enrolled customers may continue to participate in the program after the enrollment window has closed.
Can PG&E residential customers participate in these programs?
Yes. These programs are only available to residential customers, with the exception of the sponsor. The sponsor may be a non-profit community-based organization or local government.
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