CleanPowerSF Announces New Discount Programs for Disadvantaged Communities
Local community-based organizations encouraged to participate as sponsors of new solar energy projects
San Francisco, CA – August 24, 2021 – CleanPowerSF, one of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s (SFPUC) renewable electricity service programs, is announcing new initiatives that will offer access to 100 percent renewable energy at a 20 percent discount for eligible residential customers.
The programs, supported by the California Public Utilities Commission, are designed to increase renewable energy use in the state’s disadvantaged communities (DACs), as defined by CalEnviroScreen. This mapping tool helps identify California communities most affected by multiple sources of pollution and where people are especially vulnerable to those impacts.
“CleanPowerSF continues to provide equitable solutions that drive our environmental policies and help make San Francisco a more sustainable city,” said Mayor London N. Breed. “During a time when we are experiencing the worst of climate change, with our vulnerable communities impacted most, this new initiative will ensure that all San Franciscans have access to clean, reliable, and affordable energy. The fight for the future of our planet is everybody’s, and we all need to do our part if we want to create a more resilient future.”
“We believe that access to clean, renewable energy is a right that should be enjoyed by all San Franciscans,” said SFPUC Acting General Manager Michael Carlin. “Equity is critical to the CleanPowerSF mission, and by embarking on this initiative, we can help ensure that all communities throughout San Francisco have the ability to enjoy safe and sustainable energy.”
The first of the two programs, called the CleanPowerSF Disadvantaged Communities Green Tariff program, is expected to begin to serve customers early next year. The program must utilize renewable energy from a new project located in Northern California. Eligible customers must live in a DAC in CleanPowerSF’s service area and must be low-income (eligible for the state’s CARE or FERA discount programs). CleanPowerSF expects to initially serve at least 1,200 customer accounts with this program.
The CleanPowerSF Community Solar program, the second initiative, will begin to serve customers by mid-decade. Eligible projects must be solar and located in a DAC that is within five miles of the subscribing customers. To be eligible to subscribe, customers must live in a DAC, and at least 50 percent of the project’s capacity must be subscribed by low-income customers. CleanPowerSF expects to serve about 350 customer accounts with this program.
As stipulated by the CPUC, the Community Solar program also requires at least one local organization serve as a sponsor. The role of the sponsor(s) is to support outreach and engagement associated with the project(s) being developed to serve customers in the DAC Community Solar program. This includes solicitating community input on the project (including siting preferences), demonstrating substantial interest of community members in subscribing to the project, and enrolling customers in the CleanPowerSF DAC Community Solar program, once available for sign-ups.
To incentivize sponsor involvement, the CPUC stipulates that sponsors who meet certain requirements are also eligible to benefit from the DAC Community Solar program by receiving 100 percent clean energy produced by the project and a 20 percent bill discount. The sponsor may also offer to host the project (i.e. the solar project is located on their building roof), though it is not required. Sponsors can also receive up to 25 percent of the project’s energy generating capacity. The solar project developer, not CleanPowerSF, is responsible for vetting, selecting, and working with the sponsor.
To qualify as a sponsor, organizations must be a non-profit or community-based organization. To qualify for the 20 percent discount, sponsors must be a CleanPowerSF customer, have their office property located in a disadvantaged community, and be situated within five miles of the solar project. Also, at least 50 percent of the project’s capacity must be subscribed by low-income customers.
For more information, interested organizations can visit CleanPowerSF.org/CommunitySponsor and register for informational webinars on August 31 and September 2. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for questions.
CleanPowerSF began serving customers in 2016 with a mission to provide San Francisco residents and businesses with clean, renewable electricity at competitive rates. CleanPowerSF now serves more than 380,000 customer accounts in San Francisco.
In April, Mayor Breed announced that CleanPowerSF will provide all customers 100 percent renewable electricity by 2025, five years ahead the City’s original goal of 2030 and twenty years ahead of the State’s goal of 2045. Transitioning to 100 percent renewable electricity is a key component of San Francisco’s climate action goals, which Mayor Breed recently updated to be more ambitious. San Francisco now has a target to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, which moves up the City’s previous net-zero goal by 10 years.
Along with CleanPowerSF, the SFPUC operates Hetch Hetchy Power, which provides 100 percent greenhouse gas-free energy to public facilities such as City Hall, schools and libraries, some private commercial developments, and affordable housing. Collectively, the two programs serve over 70 percent of the electricity consumed in San Francisco.
About the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is a department of the City and County of San Francisco. It delivers drinking water to 2.7 million people in the San Francisco Bay Area, collects and treats wastewater for the City and County of San Francisco, and generates clean power for municipal buildings, residential customers, and businesses. Our mission is to provide our customers with high quality, efficient and reliable water, power, and sewer services in a manner that values environmental and community interests and sustains the resources entrusted to our care. Learn more at www.sfpuc.org.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 24, 2021