LPC Solar 07-30-20 041

(Photo - Doug Jorgensen)

REGIONAL — When it comes to renewable energy, Tri-Valley residents and business owners can find certain incentives for going green.

East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) now offers commercial and industrial customers a new program to connect with a vetted, experienced solar industry professional partner. The partner will provide no-cost assessments and pre-negotiated pricing. Panels help businesses continue to operate smoothly during an outage.

The State of California also offers other financial incentives to non-residential customers interested in installing battery backup through its Self-Generation Incentive Program. All non-residential customers in EBCE’s service area can apply online. There are three incentive levels: Equity Resiliency — Up to 100% of battery backup costs (applications have eligibility requirements); Equity — Up to 85% of battery backup costs (applications have eligibility requirements); and General Market — incentive rates decrease over time.

Another avenue for assistance is the property assessed clean energy (PACE) model, found through the Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. PACE is a mechanism for financing energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements on private property. PACE programs exist for commercial and residential properties. The program allows a property owner to finance the up-front cost of energy or other eligible improvements on a property and then pay the costs back over time through a voluntary assessment.

Alameda County’s Climate Action Team focuses on sustainability. One of the solar programs in the county has seen the installation of solar panels at two community housing projects, along with 11 county-owned buildings. On its webpage for local governments, the county team further encouraged cities to work on strategic climate change to influence policy makers at the federal and state levels.

In addition to these regional programs, residents and business owners in the Tri-Valley could benefit from municipal plans when available.

Dublin City Manager Linda Smith said she would love to see incentive programs developed within her city.

“I’m hopeful that we will implement Measure CF-2 of the CAP, Renewable Resource Buildout Plan, within the next year or so and create an incentive program as part of that measure,” she said.

Pleasanton Public Information Officer Cindy noted that her city does not have any current programs for solar specifically. . Pleasanton will provide a free home efficiency audit for PG&E customers, including those enrolled in EBCE. Visit https://bit.ly/Indy_EnergyAudit for more details.

Livermore Director of Innovation and Economic Development Adam Van de Water said his office does not administer incentives for solar installation for businesses.

Cities around the nation that boast incentive programs include Boulder, Colorado; San Antonio, Texas; Honolulu and Maui, Hawaii; and Burlington, Vermont. Programs range in their options, but some entail offering decreased or no lease payments on publicly owned areas, such as parking lots or rooftops. Sales and use tax rebates for businesses that add solar is another option, along with low or no interest loans for installation, rebates for low-income housing, and solar water heater rebates.

To learn more about the EBCE program, email local-programs@ebce.org or visit https://ebce.org/resilient-business. For more information on the Self-Generation Incentive Program, visit https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/sgip. For more information on PACE, visit https://bit.ly/Indy_PACE.