Search frequently asked questions or filter by category
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development deemed most HUD properties eligible for SOMAH. However, some HUD-funded properties are ineligible. Find out if your property is eligible by completing the Affordability Prescreen form.
The program serves multifamily affordable housing in California in the following investor-owned utility (IOU) territories: Liberty Utilities, PacifiCorp, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE).
Yes, tenant meter numbers are required. For SDG&E, tenant meter numbers are required during the Reservation Request Package Milestone. For SCE and PG&E, the tenant meter numbers are required during the Proof of Project Milestone stage.
Track A is for property owners who want technical assistance and support services to help assess their property’s solar potential and/or identify eligible contractors. Track B is designed for property owners who do not require technical assistance to submit a project reservation and have identified an eligible contractor. The project bidding process is required for Track A and optional for Track B.
The SOMAH PA will receive aggregated consumption data from investor-owned utilities (IOUs), on the property owners behalf, which will be included on the Reservation Request Package Approval Notice.
Any PV module on the California Energy Commission’s list of eligible equipment that shows up in the EPBB Calculator with a Performance Test Conditions (PTC) rating is eligible for SOMAH.
Contractors will receive Job Training Portal login information via email within three business days after attending the Contractor Eligibility Training webinar and submitting their contact information. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contractors are required to enter each job opportunity in the SOMAH Job Training Portal and begin recruitment at least 30 days before installation begins. However, the contractor can choose to keep the job posting hidden and recruit trainees by other means (e.g., direct outreach to a job training organization or recruitment of tenants).
If the two positions are the same (e.g., PV installer), then only one job posting can be entered in the Job Training Portal. If not the same, then two job postings should be entered.
Job training can include PV installation, project design and engineering or PV commissioning and maintenance. These categories are based on the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners’ Photovoltaic Specialists Job Tasks Analysis.
Yes, existing employees can qualify as SOMAH job trainees so long as they meet the eligibility criteria. The individual must be either: Currently enrolled in an eligible job training program, recently graduated from an eligible job training program within 12 months of the installation start date or be a tenant whose primary residence is the SOMAH property.
While the map is a great indicator of eligible properties, there may be additional eligible properties not reflected in the map. If you have questions regarding property eligibility, please reach out to us.
Contractors are required to pay SOMAH job trainees at the contractor's entry level or temporary worker wage or 1.4x the minimum wage of the city in which the SOMAH project is located, whichever is higher.
The project bidding process is required for Track A and optional for Track B. In Track A, the host customer must obtain multiple project bids and select a contractor before submitting a Reservation Request. It is not required to select the lowest bid and applicants are encouraged to take other factors into consideration such as local hiring, experience with SOMAH and VNEM, etc.
While the SOMAH Program Handbook does not have any restrictions other than the eligibility criteria, contractors are required to follow all local, state and federal labor laws.
SOMAH's Technical Assistance and Support Services are designed to provide hands on support to participating property owners and their contractors. Examples of Technical Assistance and Support Services include: identifying energy efficiency opportunities, assisting in achieving net zero energy targets, providing coordination and referrals to other clean energy programs, tenant education support, and solar feasibility assessments.
Contractors are only required to hire trainees to work on the project for the required number of work hours based on the system size. However, many contractors may opt to keep trainees on staff for additional projects or hire the trainee as a permanent employee.
Yes, a resume is not required to participate in job training opportunities. Contractors can work directly with job training organizations to place job trainees on SOMAH projects.
Language options may vary by contractor. However, the SOMAH PA team cannot guarantee that training will be offered in languages other than English.
Eligible programs include California Community College or other PV training programs offered to the public by local government workforce development programs, community nonprofits, private enterprises or the electrical workers union. Requires 40+ hours of instructional and/or hands-on PV installation and design training. Career technical education programs related to green building or design offering 40+ hours of instruction are also eligible.
The trainee should work directly with the hiring contractor to arrange an appropriate work schedule.
Project application data, including contractor company information, can be found on the California Distributed Generation Statistics website. The SOMAH PA team will facilitate connections between contractors and eligible job training organizations based on the contractor's needs.
Individuals must be currently enrolled in an eligible job training program, recently graduated from an eligible job training program within 12 months of installation start date or a tenant whose primary residence is the SOMAH property. They must also complete the SOMAH Job Trainee Intake Form to participate.
You can access the Directory of Eligible Job Training Organizations is available online. The directory can be filtered by location or keyword, and each entry includes contact and website information.
The SOMAH Program does not require certain skills or certifications. However, each contractor may have different preferences and requirements.
Yes you can. Contact the contractor installing solar at your building. This information can be found on the Job Training flyer. Ask what jobs and volunteer opportunities are available at your building.
Some highlights to share with your property manager and landlord:
• SOMAH saves on energy costs, reducing the overall costs of powering the building and keeping energy costs stable even when utility rates fluctuate.
• SOMAH provides up to 100% of the funding for solar installation on qualifying buildings.
• SOMAH automatically enrolls tenants into Energy Saving Assistance Program (ESA) to help further reduce tenants' energy use.
• SOMAH benefits tenants as well as owners, through bill credits and cleaner air.
• SOMAH supports economic opportunity and growth in your community, creating jobs and developing solar careers.
• SOMAH can help your building and your neighborhood go carbon-free, contributing to a healthier community and planet.
Go to CalSOMAH.org to learn more.
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 tenants’ 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 bills 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.
Property owners are required to inform tenants of job training opportunities at their property. Tenants can contact the SOMAH contractor directly or sign up for the SOMAH Job Training Portal by completing the Job Trainee Intake Form to search for job openings.
Your property owner and construction team will share information about how construction may affect your common areas. It is important that you feel safe on site.
With a TOU rate, utility electricity prices vary depending on the period of the day in which energy is consumed. Higher prices are charged during utility peak-load times.
Power will be turned off for a short amount time during solar installation. You will be notified in advance and given enough time to prepare for the brief power outage.
Your property owner and construction team will share information about how construction may affect your home and community spaces.
Feedback and suggestions regarding job training opportunities and workforce development can be emailed to email@example.com. You can also provide at the quarterly public forum or to the SOMAH Job Training Organization Task Force.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request to add your training organization or program to the directory.
Individual job placement data is not public information. You can work with your student or graduate to self-report this information or work with the contractor who hired your student to request this information.