New Solar Homes Partnership Brings Solar and Affordable Housing Together

In the Central Valley town of Dixon the sun shines, on average, 265 days a year. This makes it an ideal place for harnessing solar energy.

Dixon also boasts a median household income of $72,000, making it an ideal place for affordable housing.

Bringing solar energy and affordable housing together is one of the goals of the California Energy Commission’s New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) program.

An example of how the program brings the two together is the Heritage Commons affordable housing development in southeast Dixon.

The development, which consists of 114 apartments for seniors, is Dixon’s largest affordable senior housing community. The NSHP program was elemental in encouraging Heritage Commons’ developer -- Neighborhood Partners, LLC -- to install a solar energy system.

The NSHP provides financial incentives and other support for the installation of eligible solar energy systems on newly constructed residential, multi-unit and mixed use buildings that get electricity from certain investor-owned utilities.

The program also offers a higher incentive rebate structure for affordable housing projects.

Three solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are installed on three buildings at Heritage Commons, accounting for 27 kilowatts.

Neighborhood Partners will receive approximately $36,430 in rebates from the NSHP program for the systems. The solar systems serves a 100 percent common area load that includes a laundry room, clubhouse and lounge rooms.

The NSHP program helps the Energy Commission’s goal of making funds available that encourage developers to include solar installations in housing projects. It also dovetails with the state’s focus to remove barriers to clean energy in low-income and underserved areas.

To date, the program has provided rebates for installing solar PV systems impacting almost 8,000 affordable housing units in California.

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California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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