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Sacramento Municipal Utility District
Voluntary Customer Premium Payments
California | CA
Centralized Solar System: Photovoltaic,Power Purchase Agreement (PPA),Green Pricing Program
SolarShares is a community solar program the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) offers that allows customers to purchase shares of a central station PV array located in the city.
SMUD determined that some of its customers wanted to use solar electricity but were prevented from installing their own PV system for a variety of reasons, such as living in a rental or an apartment building, home owners association regulations, up-front capital costs, shading from trees or buildings, etc.
This pilot program is an alternative to SMUD`s Greenenergy program that allows customers to purchase renewable energy from a mix of energy sources rather than just solar. For a fixed monthly price based on a customer`s electricity usage they will get a credit on their monthly bill for solar power produced by a central PV installation. Customers can purchase the share of electricity output from as little as 0.5 kW within the larger array. The monthly amount of SolarShares' power generated acts as a credit to reduce the amount of non-renewable power the customer uses - virtual net metering. The net bill impact will be the difference between SolarShares subscription fee and the energy credit the customer gets each month.
It is expected that the average monthly cost to participate in the program is somewhere between $4 and $30 a month depending on energy use and the size of the system chosen. Customers can replace between 10% and 50% of their energy with PV generated electricity. The fixed monthly fee for SolarShares is guaranteed to not increase as long as the participant remains a SMUD customer, i.e. a fixed price contract. Should electricity rates increase higher than the assumed inflation rate, the gap between their solar tariff and retail rates will shrink over time. In addition, the SolarShares contract is portable within SMUD's service territory if the customer relocates.
SolarShares is the first program of its k
ind in California, and the largest in the nation, but has counterparts in Washington State (City of Ellensburg), Utah (City of St. George), and Colorado (United Power). The 1MW SolarShares system is located in Sacramento County, and has been operational since July 2008, with the capacity to serve between 800 and 1,000 customers. SMUD signed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with enXco who built, owns and operates the system. The program will likely be expanded when the 1 MW project has been fully subscribed.
General Project Description: http://www.smud.org/en/community-environment/solar/pages/solarshares.aspx
Online Enrollment Form: https://usage.smud.org/youraccount/signups/solarshareform.aspx