The City of Goleta has partnered with a program to offer home solar and battery storage systems to homeowners and get closer to the city’s renewable energy goals.
In a webinar last week, Alexa Colon with the PoweredUp Network said homeowners who sign up with the program enter a 25-year power purchase agreement. A customized solar energy system and smart home battery are installed at no upfront cost and residents do not pay any operation or maintenance costs.
Property owners do not own the systems in this program, and if they move before the agreement is up, it transfers to the new owners.
Residents pay for the energy their system produces at a rate of $0.24 per kilowatt-hour and the rates increase 2.9% per year. Colon said that rate is about half of the typical utility bill, and local enrollment manager Tony Miller said the rate increases are lower than Southern California Edison’s rates, which typically increase 5% to 15% per year.
The PoweredUp Network is available within Ventura County, Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County, and Goleta is the second public partnership with the PoweredUp Network, following the City of Santa Barbara’s partnership that began about a year ago.
Miller, who is the local enrollment manager for Goleta and Santa Barbara, said that nearly 20 systems have been installed through the PoweredUp Network in the Goleta area since they started installing in June.
Miller also said that PoweredUp has been installing microgrids since 2014.
“[With the program], you can easily become your own microgrid, meaning you can take control of your power through solar panels that are customized to fit your house and a battery storage system that allows you to control how and when you deploy your solar-generated electricity,” Colon said.
She said the program aims to address rising electricity costs, grid instability and power outages, and carbon emissions.
“You’re going to be able to rely on the power that you generate to manage your critical load in times of outages, but also to power your home when the grid is up,” Colon said, adding that residents can avoid high electricity prices during peak hours by using the solar power.
Miller said that to qualify for the PoweredUp Network, residents need to own a single-family home and not be a renter. Additionally, no income or FICO credit score are required, nor are financing or property liens.
“The 25-year service agreement is giving you the ability to have no cost of ownership for that entire period,” Miller said. “The commitment you’re making is to buy the power that that system is producing for that period of time. The benefit you’re getting is a locked-in, lower utility rate, price protection from rapidly rising utility rates, and the benefit of helping your community achieve all of these goals — localizing power, helping to transition away from the centralized grid system.”
After the 25-year contract, program participants can have the system removed, renew the agreement and get an upgraded system, or pay a small buyout fee — which Miller said would be a couple hundred dollars — to own the system. If the house is sold before the end of the contract, the balance of the 25-year agreement would transfer to the new owners.
In 2017, Goleta adopted its goal to use 100% renewable energy for the city’s municipal facilities and community-wide electricity supply by 2030, and in 2019, the City Council adopted a Strategic Energy Plan.
A recording of the webinar is available on the city’s website here.
Source: Serena Guentz, Noozhawk Staff Writer. Read the original article here.