California CCA launches community solar program aimed at energy equity

This week Marin Clean Energy (MCE) a community choice aggregator in California announced the launch of two new programs, Community Solar Connection and Green Access, aimed at energy equity and affordability. MCE will be offering qualifying customers living in a designated disadvantaged community access to 100% renewable energy and a 20% discount on their electricity bills for up to 20 years. Both programs will be supported by the development of an additional 5.92 megawatts of new local clean energy capacity.

As part of the program launch, MCE is seeking local community and municipal organizations to become sponsors for the Community Solar Connection program. Sponsor organizations will be joined with local developers to create new solar projects located in disadvantaged communities within MCE’s service area that score in the top 25% based on CalEnviroScreen, which is a tool that “identifies California communities by census tract that are disproportionately burdened by, and vulnerable to, multiple sources of pollution.”

Project sponsors will help with the roll-out of Community Solar Connection. Sponsors will solicit community feedback regarding project locations, partner with MCE on a community outreach and recruitment plan and support job training and workforce development opportunities. Learn how to apply here.

“With MCE’s focus on environmental justice, we are excited to launch our Community Solar Connection and Green Access programs,” said Dawn Weisz, MCE CEO. “These programs are a promising next step in increasing access to renewable resources while decreasing customer costs. MCE is committed to keeping the needs of our customers front and center as we move toward an equitable clean energy future.”

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The Community Solar Connection program offers 100% solar energy and provides a 20% discount on the electricity portion of participating customers’ energy bills. At least 50% of the program’s participation capacity will be reserved for customers who are enrolled in CARE or FERA discount programs. Customers will be eligible to enroll in this program as soon as the solar resources come online, currently estimated for late 2022.

The Green Access program will supply 100% renewable power to customers located in a disadvantaged community with an accompanying 20% bill discount. Customers will be automatically enrolled beginning in September 2022, prioritizing customers who live in the highest scoring disadvantaged communities, are currently participating in either the CARE or FERA discount program and who have the need for additional support to get caught up on their energy bills.

Once both programs are fully operational, MCE estimates it will be able to provide almost 2,900 customers with bill discounts and access to more renewable energy. These are customer-funded programs overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission, which has approved MCE’s request to administer these programs for our customers.

MCE is a load-serving entity supporting a 1,200 MW and providing electricity service to more than 480,000 customer accounts and more than one million residents and businesses in 36 member communities across four Bay Area counties.

Source: Renewable Energy