The board of directors for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) was scheduled to vote on a “Climate Emergency Declaration.” If passed, SMUD would become the first independently-owned utility company to set a goal for carbon neutrality without ten years. To help achieve this environmentally-sound achievement, new community solar plans may become a vital piece of the puzzle.
Though SMUD has put forth an initial draft of its emergency declaration, the initial document is relatively bare. Being the first step in carbon neutrality, SMUD has room and time to start filling out the details, including how new community solar plans may work into the equation. This draft also isn’t the only plan in place as SMUD produced a proposal to reduce carbon in the 2040 Energy Plan.
The 2030 plan looks to expand upon what was laid out in the 2040 Energy Plan, which would allow Sacramento and SMUD to put a heavy focus on renewables. The 2040 plan required an investment of $7 billion over 20 years, which would support local building and hep procure carbon neutral resources while encouraging efficiency. New to the 2030 plan is the possible focus on community solar.
Since building solar panels is an investment, many homeowners are unable to afford the installation. Community solar serves as a workaround to that and allows residents and business owners to participate in solar without having to worry about panels. In return for subscribing, customers receive credits toward their utility bill.
SMUD has always preferred community solar plans, though that drew criticism for its community solar-plus-storage program. The program was deemed ineffective because it required homeowners to join existing community solar projects, which wouldn’t promote the construction of new arrays.
According to SMUD, however, the proposal is to proportion out pieces of the projects. This would ensure the programs are within compliance with California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.