The Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) program provides incentives to substantially reduce the cost of installing solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems and includes complimentary technical assistance to make it easy to go solar and reap the benefits of renewable energy on your property. SOMAH is a unique, community-driven program that benefits every aspect of your community.
1. Receive lower-cost solar installation for your property
While an average 70-kW multifamily solar PV system costs upwards of $140,000‒$280,000, SOMAH funding can substantially reduce your solar installation costs on your multifamily apartment housing.
By applying for the SOMAH program, you will receive fixed, upfront, capacity-based incentives for qualifying systems. Once the SOMAH installation has been approved for the incentive payment, your application deposit will be returned in full. It is important to know that the sooner you apply for the SOMAH program, the greater chance you have of receiving better funding since an annual reduction occurs every year in July. Learn more about costs and incentives associated with the program or request a meeting with a SOMAH representative.
2. Helps save on energy costs
Installing a PV system on your multifamily property reduces energy expenses, increases net operating income and avoids paying future increased utility rates.
Harnessing solar energy for your property’s heating and cooling needs allows you to greatly reduce the need for electricity produced by your utility company. Using less electricity and more solar-powered energy allows you to keep more money in your bank account each month.
3. Provides tenant cost savings and long-term tenant retention
When a solar PV system is installed on a multifamily property with individual utility meters for each unit, tenants can also benefit from lower electricity costs. To guarantee this, the SOMAH program requires a minimum of 51% of the total energy produced to be provided to tenants in the form of bill credits to help them live more affordably.
Having solar will help you retain existing tenants, attract new residents and display sustainability at your property. Learn how tenants benefit from solar with our virtual net metering toolkit.
4. Promotes local job opportunities through job training
To help provide community workforce development, SOMAH requires contractors to hire job trainees for each project. And with $100 million in the annual budget for the next 10 years, this program can boost the local solar economy and provide more jobs. Eligible trainees must participate in either the solar installation or in a supporting role – and are paid a competitive salary.
Residents, including your tenants, can receive paid, hands-on experience in the solar industry, leading to rewarding long-term careers. Visit the SOMAH job seekers page to learn about specific eligibility and program requirements.
5. Supports environmental justice
SOMAH provides the benefits of solar to Californians who might otherwise not have access to clean energy. As those living in low-income and disadvantaged communities often pay a higher percentage of their income on utility bills, solar means money in their pockets and better housing security as well as a cleaner, healthier environment for all.
As the largest investment of its kind in the nation, SOMAH is providing up to $100 million a year from five of the state’s investor-owned utilities’ greenhouse gas cap-and-trade auction proceeds to install 300 megawatts of solar on affordable multifamily properties by 2030.
6. Works toward a healthier California
With more than 3,500 multifamily affordable housing properties that qualify for SOMAH across the state, it presents the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by fossil fuels. Each installation helps California make progress toward its ambitious goal of 100% carbon-free energy by 2045.
The SOMAH program was designed to help our environment, property owners, tenants, contractors and job seekers. By joining the SOMAH program, you will be investing in your housing’s value as well as your community, the environment and a clean energy future.