SolarCity to Offer Solar to Low-Income Renters in California

  • Company will partner with Everday Energy for service
  • Renters will get bill credits for using clean energy

SolarCity Corp. will finance and install rooftop panels for affordable housing and low-income renters in California as the company moves to address concerns about the accessibility of solar energy.

SolarCity, the nation’s biggest provider of rooftop-solar power, will team up with Everyday Energy, a developer of solar for affordable-housing units, to sell its service that promises lower monthly utility bills, according to a statement Thursday from the San Mateo, California-based company. Under the program, residents will get bill credits for the amount of solar electricity that offsets their individual power use, SolarCity said.

"Access to solar continues to increase to more communities across the state," said Sanjay Ranchod, vice president of policy at SolarCity. "SolarCity and the solar industry want to accelerate that."

The move comes as California regulators weigh changes to how rooftop-solar owners are compensated for their excess green energy under a policy called net metering. The state’s investor-owned utilities have proposed increased charges and reduced payments for home solar users, arguing that the changes are needed to reduce the extra amount of money customers who can’t or don’t use solar must pay to subsidize those who use the technology. SolarCity and other installers say the proposals will prohibit new installations. 

SolarCity will also offer solar to builders of new low-income housing projects in California. The company plans to offer similar services in other U.S. states, said company spokesman Jonathan Bass.

California regulators have set up programs that provide financial incentives for solar installations on low-income apartments and new affordable housing projects, the company said.

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