New MCE community solar programs serving disadvantaged California populations
MCE has launched Community Solar Connection and Green Access, programs that can provide eligible customers living in designated underserved communities with access to 100% renewable energy and 20% off their electric bills for up to 20 years. Both programs will be supported by the development of an additional 5.92 MW of new local clean energy capacity in San Rafael and Concord, California.
“With MCE’s focus on environmental justice, we are excited to launch our Community Solar Connection and Green Access programs,” said Dawn Weisz, CEO of MCE. “These programs are a promising next step in increasing access to renewable resources and reducing customer costs. MCE is committed to keeping our customers’ needs at the center as we move towards a just clean energy future. ”
Through the program, MCE is seeking local community and municipal organizations to sponsor the Community Solar Connection program. Sponsor organizations will join local developers to create new solar projects in underserved communities within MCE’s service area that rank in the top 25% based on CalEnviroScreen.
CalEnviroScreen is a tool that “identifies communities in California through census records that are disproportionately burdened by and vulnerable to multiple sources of pollution.” Project sponsors seek community feedback regarding project locations, collaborate with MCE on a community outreach and recruitment plan, and support job training and workforce development opportunities. MCE invites potential sponsors to the interest form as soon as possible. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
At least 50% of Community Solar Connection program participation capacity is reserved for customers enrolled in CARE or FERA discount programs. Customers will be eligible to join this program once the solar resources come online, currently estimated to be before the end of 2022.
Green Access customers will be automatically enrolled from September 2022, with priority being given to customers living in the most underprivileged communities, currently participating in the CARE or FERA discount program, and requiring additional support to top up their energy bills.
Once both programs are fully operational, MCE estimates it will be able to provide nearly 2,900 customers with discounted bills and access to more renewable energy. These are taxpayer funded programs overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission, which has approved MCE’s request to administer these programs for our clients.
News item from MCE