General

Definitions & terminology

  • Time-of-use (TOU) – What is a time of use rate?

    Electricity prices that vary depending on the time periods in which the energy is consumed. In a time-of-use rate structure, higher prices are charged during utility peak-load times. Such rates can provide an incentive for consumers to curb power use during peak time. Tenants in the SOMAH program will take service under a TOU rate but have an option to opt-out for a non-TOU rate.

  • What is virtual net energy metering (VNEM)?

    Virtual net metering is an arrangement with the utility that allows energy from a single solar system to be shared virtually among multiple tenant accounts.

Incentive rates

  • How do I know what the current incentive rates are?

    SOMAH incentives are posted online on CalSOMAH.org and reduce annually through the step-down process.

    Learn more: System costs & incentives

  • How does the incentive step-down (reduction) work?

    To reflect changes in actual market costs, SOMAH incentive levels are reduced annually either by 5% or by the annual percent decline in residential solar costs as reflected by National Renewable Energy Lab’s cost analysis (whichever is less). The annual reduction occurs at the 12-month point from the program launch date, which is July 1.

  • What project costs are eligible for incentives?

    Total eligible project costs cover the solar energy system and its ancillary equipment. Additional equipment and other costs outside of the project scope are considered ineligible.

    For more information on eligible project costs, please refer to SOMAH Program Handbook.

Program benefits

  • What benefits does SOMAH provide?

    SOMAH program benefits include:

    Benefits for property owners

    • SOMAH incentives may cover the full cost of the materials and installation for the portion of the solar PV system that offsets tenant’s electricity needs.
    • Solar PV can help reduce and stabilize energy costs for eligible multifamily buildings.
    • The SOMAH program offers a suite of no-cost technical assistance services to make the process of installing solar easier.

    Benefits for tenants

    • SOMAH provides financial benefits to tenants - tenants will receive credits on their electricity bill to help them live more affordably.
    • SOMAH provides job-training opportunities.
    • SOMAH automatically enrolls tenants into an Energy Saving Assistance Program to help further reduce energy use.

    Benefits for the community

    • Solar PV installations can help improve air quality by reducing reliance on fossil-fuels for electricity generation.
    • SOMAH provides job training opportunities and builds capacity in the clean energy economy.

Reporting

Solar energy

  • Will the solar produce energy when the power is out?

    When the power goes out, your solar panels will be turned off. This is for the safety of utility workers.

Waitlist

  • What is the latest waitlist information and funding status for SOMAH?

    The SOMAH program status fluctuates depending on funding and application volumes. For the most current information, please visit: