The California Housing Partnership continues to engage with public agencies and electric and water utilities to ensure that multifamily affordable housing properties have the necessary resources to meet ongoing building and climate requirements. This digest highlights funding opportunities and shares policy and program updates on sustainable housing.
Funding for Energy Efficiency, Solar and Energy Storage
LADWP’s Board of Commissioners Approve $100M for Low-Income Multifamily Housing
The advocacy of CHPC and Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) coalition partners with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has resulted in a $100 million investment over five years for affordable multifamily housing. LADWP also approved $10 million for shared community solar and funds for a virtual net metering pilot to offer solar options to renters. CHPC is helping LADWP explore leveraging the state’s Multifamily Low-Income Weatherization Program (LIWP) to quickly scale this initiative in Los Angeles’ disadvantaged communities. Please contact Blanca de la Cruz for more information: email@example.com.
CPUC’s Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) Program
CHPC is helping administer the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) new $1 billion SOMAH program for launch this fall. SOMAH will be funded at up to $100,000,000 per year for 10 years, depending on cap and trade proceed levels. It is limited to multifamily affordable housing properties served by Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric, Liberty, and PacifiCorp. Please contact Blanca de la Cruz for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- June 27: The draft SOMAH Program Handbook is released for public input.
- July 12: CPUC will host a workshop on the draft Program Handbook in San Francisco.
- CHPC will announce a webinar in the fall to explain how to access these incentives.
Low-Income Weatherization Program (LIWP) Farmworker Projects
LIWP is currently targeting energy efficiency and solar improvements at farmworker housing. The program is accepting interest forms and must commit funding by the end of summer. CHPC continues to advocate for additional funding for all types of LIWP projects. Please contact Blanca de La Cruz for more information: email@example.com.
LIWP’s Community Solar Pilot Program
The California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) anticipates making 2-6 awards for community solar PV projects that are at least 250 kW, with no single award exceeding $3,000,000. Awards will consider the direct economic value, community benefits and community-based approach among other criteria. Program guidelines will be available August 1, 2018 followed by an optional Bidder’s Conference. Project proposals will be due October 2, 2018. Please contact Collin Tateishi for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
CPUC’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) Equity Budget
SGIP Equity Budget sets aside rebates for energy battery storage systems at low-income properties that are installed on the customer’s side of the utility meter. Incentives are available through 2020 but limited to customers in Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas Company, and San Diego Gas & Electric. Please contact Collin Tateishi for more information: email@example.com.
PG&E’s Multifamily Programs and Services
PG&E hosted a webinar on June 28 to share details on their multifamily programs and services: technical assistance, cash incentives, financing and other resources. Please contact Blanca de la Cruz for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Potential Program: CPUC’s Community Solar Green Tariff Program
The CPUC did not approve the community solar program this year. This program would have helped low-income renters get bill savings by accessing solar energy generated from a “community solar system” within close proximity to their building. Earlier versions of the community solar program would have used a virtual net energy metering model. While this is a missed opportunity for local ownership and community self-determination, we hope that regulators will prioritize solar initiatives that unlock clean energy benefits for community organizations and low-income Californians. Please contact Collin Tateishi for more information: email@example.com.
Potential Program: Building Initiative for Low-Emissions Development (BUILD) Program – SB 1477
If passed, this bill would create an incentive program (with low-income and Disadvantaged Community carve-outs) for energy storage, solar thermal and other technologies to help new buildings reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It would not include solar PV. This bill has cleared the Senate and is now being reviewed by Assembly committees. Please contact Stephanie Wang for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Potential Program: Energy Storage Initiative – SB 700
If passed, this bill would extend the Self Generation Incentive Program for five years. This bill has cleared the Senate and is now being reviewed by Assembly committees. Please contact Stephanie Wang for more information: email@example.com.
Building Energy Efficiency Standards and Solar Requirements
On May 9, 2018, the California Energy Commission adopted new energy efficiency and solar standards that will impact all new construction and rehab projects beginning January 1, 2020. Multifamily properties will have to install solar PV systems, a requirement that is in line with the state’s goals for all new residential construction to be zero net energy by 2020.
The exceptions to the new solar requirements are extensive and provide appropriate flexibility for multifamily residential properties – including affordable housing. This covers certain climate zones, small and unsuitable roofs, and properties that prioritize other types of smart energy solutions. For example, multifamily properties with domestic solar water heating and more than three habitable stories may be exempt from the solar requirements. CHPC will work with the California Energy Commission to clarify implementation of these exceptions. Please contact Collin Tateishi for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Energy Data Access and Reporting
State Compliance (AB 802)
Properties with 50,000 sq. ft. gross floor area or more must benchmark energy performance annually and report data to the California Energy Commission. Properties subject to local benchmarking and reporting requirements may not have to report to the state as long as they comply with local requirements. Properties with 17 or more residential utility accounts must request data from utilities by March 1, 2019 and report data by June 1, 2019. Buildings with less than 5 residential units may be able to access aggregate data if they are served by one common meter (ie. outdoor lighting). For more information, please see the CEC’s Fact Sheet and FAQ Handout.
Los Angeles City Benchmarking and RCx Compliance
The City’s Resource Center and US Green Building Council’s Los Angeles Chapter are offering private workshops and limited-time pro-bono benchmarking to help property owners comply with benchmarking and reporting requirements. Please contact Fernanda Zuin for more information: Fernanda@usgbc-la.org.
Governor Brown approved two water bills on May 31, 2018 to set new indoor residential water use standards (AB 1668) and regional water use efficiency targets (SB 606). Neither bill provides incentives for water-saving building improvements. CHPC will continue to support incentives that target multifamily affordable housing properties and low-income renters. Please contact Collin Tateishi for more information: email@example.com.
In recognition of the key role that energy and water costs play in the long-term financial feasibility of operating affordable housing developments, the California Housing Partnership Corporation convenes the Green Rental Home Energy Efficiency Network (GREEN). GREEN was established in 2010 to increase access to energy efficiency, clean energy, and water conservation resources for low-income households living in affordable rental properties in California. Please contact Collin Tateishi at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about how to engage with GREEN.