Program Plug-in: Community Solar Discount Programs

Program Plug-in: Community Solar Discount Programs

MCE’s Program Plug-in series takes a deep dive into offerings available to MCE customers and how you can plug in to energy savings, bill relief, resiliency, safety upgrades, electric vehicles, and more.

MCE developed the Green Access and Community Solar Connection Programs to advance energy equity and affordability in our service area. These community solar discount programs offer qualifying customers 100% renewable energy service and a 20% discount on their energy bill. MCE launched Green Access in 2021 and hopes to launch Community Solar Connection by the end of 2023. Renewable energy for the programs will be supported by an additional 5.92 megawatts of new local clean energy capacity, serving an estimated 3,500 customers.

Green Access and Community Solar Connection will support customers who need it most. Priority is given to residents of disadvantaged communities who are enrolled in the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) Program or Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) discount programs. Disadvantaged communities are identified as being in the top 25% of vulnerability to multiple sources of pollution based on data from CalEnviroScreen.

“The Green Access and Community Solar Connection Programs provide customers in disadvantaged communities with access to renewable energy while simultaneously decreasing the financial burden that many of them are experiencing. These programs represent a key step in moving toward a greener, more equitable future for everyone.” – Amy Allum-Poon, MCE Green Access and Community Solar Programs Manager

Green Access Program

MCE began automatically enrolling eligible customers in the Green Access Program on September 1, 2021. As of March 2022, over 3,012 customers were enrolled from neighborhoods in Pittsburg, Richmond, and Vallejo. Program participants benefit from 100% renewable energy service and a 20% bill discount for up to 20 years. In 2021 alone, the program supported over $60,000 in bill discounts for income-qualified customers. The program is currently supported by 4.64 megawatts of local clean energy capacity.

Community Solar Connection Program

MCE is in the process of launching the Community Solar Connection program in a disadvantaged community in MCE’s service area. In addition to providing a 20% discount and 100% solar service, the program is also paired with a local energy procurement requirement. Energy for program participants will be supported by the development of a new solar project within 5 miles of the community it serves. This requirement is designed to provide additional community benefits in the form of energy independence and economic development. At least 50% of Community Solar Connection participation capacity will be reserved for income-qualified customers who are enrolled in CARE or FERA discount programs. Customers will be eligible to enroll in the Community Solar Connection Program as soon as the solar resources come online, currently projected for late 2023.

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