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Solar for New Affordable Housing

The information below reflects the provisions and incentives in the NSHP Guidebook for affordable housing applicants.

Because affordable housing projects often face unique challenges and costs with adding PV systems to their developments, the Energy Commission's New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) offers affordable housing projects higher incentives than standard market rate housing projects


The Expected Performance-Based Incentive (EPBI) for affordable housing projects is approximately $3.50/watt for individual residential units and approximately $3.30/watt for systems on common areas if the PV system primarily serves the residences. The incentive will decline 10 percent each time specific volumes of capacity have been reserved. Of the overall 400 megawatts (MW) goal for the entire NSHP program, 36 MW will be made available for new affordable housing during the ten year program.


Eligible projects include new single- and multi-family developments. Applicants should refer to the NSHP Guidebook to determine if their project is eligible.

Applicants with affordable housing projects must also satisfy the requirements below:

Regulatory Agreement
The affordable housing project must be undertaken pursuant to sections 50052.5, 50053 or 50199.4 of the California Health and Safety Code, or other affordable housing laws adopted by the California Department of Housing and Community Development. Applicants should refer to the NSHP Guidebook for more information. Applicants must demonstrate this by providing documentation identifying the statutory basis under which the project was undertaken.

Individual Metering Requirement
Each residential dwelling unit for which a system is being installed must have an individual meter capable of monitoring and reporting the electricity consumption of that unit.

Energy Efficiency
To participate in the NSHP, homes must be highly energy efficient. Documentation is required to show energy efficiency improvements that exceed the current Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards by at least 15 percent. Applicants must also provide the energy efficiency calculations performed by a Certified Energy Plans Examiner.

Maintenance and Monitoring Plan
Affordable housing applicants must provide a maintenance and monitoring plan. The plan may be submitted as part of the reservation application or at the time the Payment Claim Form (NSHP-2) is submitted. This plan shall also be provided to the building or property manager and should identify specific maintenance, monitoring, and inspections the building or property manager would need to undertake, or have contracted for, in order to ensure that the system produces maximum output over the system's expected life.

For more information on the NSHP, prospective applicants should refer to the NSHP Guidebook.
Download the NSHP Guidebook.