Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD): SolarShares Program

Details of a Large Scale Community Solar Program:

SMUD has long been a leader in solar energy deployment. The SolarShares program allows customers to purchase output from a solar peoject on a monthly basis. Rather than own the system, SMUD contracted with a solar developer, enXco, to build, own, and maintain a 1-MW system. EnXco sells the power to SMUD under a twenty year power purchase agreement. The electricity from the system is fed directly into the grid and SMUD uses the solar generated electricity as the basis for its SolarShares program.
Customers pay a fixed monthly fee, based on both the amount of PV to which they want to subscribe (from .5 to kW) and their average electricity consumption. In order to encourage conservation, SMUD makes the SolarShares less expensive for their customers who use less electricity. Once enrolled, a customer is locked in at the fixed monthly fee, for as long as they wish to participate. They receive monthly kWh credits for teh estimated output of their solar subscription. Although customers currently pay a premium for solar energy, the effective rate for soalr is locked in when they enroll, which maintains the ability of solar to act as a hedge against future price increases. The program is fully subscribed, with approximately 700 residential SolarShares customers. Customers can join a waiting list and enroll with current customers drop or move out of the territory. SMUD is making plans for expansion of up to 25 Mega Watts over the next few years.
Details of the Program:
The solar system is 1 MW (mega watt) in size
The renewable energy credits (REC’s) are retained by the local utility company SMUD.

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