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California Utility Allowance Calculator (CUAC)
For the New Solar Homes Partnership

The California Utility Allowance Calculator (CUAC) is a tool designed to calculate project-specific utility allowances for low income housing projects. As a result of recommendations from the New Solar Homes Partnership's Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, California Energy Commission staff working through its contractor, KEMA, began development of the CUAC in 2007.

In July 2008, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released final regulations for changes to utility allowances for Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects. In California the state LIHTC agency is the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee (CTCAC). In these regulations the IRS established the authority for the CTCAC to authorize the use of an energy consumption software model to determine project specific utility allowances. The approved energy consumption software model can be used by qualified professionals approved by the CTCAC to calculate project specific utility allowances.

Throughout 2008, KEMA continued to improve the CUAC, and completed a final version designed for public use in October 2008. On November 5, 2008, the Energy Commission approved the California Utility Allowance Calculator and authorized Commission staff to work with CTCAC to facilitate adoption of the CUAC and rules for its use by CTACAC.

On January 25, 2009, the CTCAC approved the CUAC as the energy consumption model software for California for the 2009 tax credit funding cycle. The CUAC can be use by qualified professionals approved by the CTCAC to calculate project-specific utility allowances.

Disclaimer: The CUAC is intended for affordable housing new construction and possibly substantial rehabilitation projects that include energy efficiency improvements beyond those required by the 2005 California Building Energy Efficiency Standards and/or onsite solar electric (photovoltaic, PV) generation. The CUAC is not appropriate for use with existing projects built to older energy efficiency Standards or to projects that do not include energy efficiency or PV upgrades. The Energy Commission is interested in working with State and local housing authorities and funding agencies with regulatory authority over affordable housing projects regarding the potential use of the CUAC for determining project specific utility allowances for projects that include energy efficiency or PV upgrades, which are under the jurisdiction of those agencies, including rules adopted by those agencies to assure that the CUAC is used by qualified professionals.

CUAC Training, Events & Presentations

For more information or questions regarding the CUAC, please contact:

E-mail: Robert Ridgley
Phone: 916-654-4886.