Local Clean Energy Leaders Celebrate Milestone to Expand Rooftop Solar  to San Diego’s Low-Income Communities

Local Clean Energy Leaders Celebrate Milestone to Expand Rooftop Solar to San Diego’s Low-Income Communities


$10M SD Solar Equity Program to provide 300+ solar installations over a decade

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CITY HEIGHTS, SAN DIEGO, October 5, 2023 – Today San Diego Gas & Electric, in partnership with the City of San Diego and the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), celebrated the accomplishments of the first year of the San Diego Solar Equity Program, which has 36 rooftop solar systems installed or underway at little or no cost for San Diego family homeowners who need it the most.

The decade-long, $10-million initiative paid for by SDG&E shareholders, aims to enable income-qualified homeowners who live in the City of San Diego, to install rooftop solar and enjoy the benefits of clean energy and lower electric bills. The program prioritizes San Diego communities facing the highest risks from climate change due to historically low access to renewable energy and socioeconomic circumstances. The equity-focused initiative has the potential to bring solar power to more than 300 San Diego families over the life of the program.

“Every neighborhood must benefit from our efforts to fight climate change, especially those most vulnerable to its impacts,” said Council President Sean Elo-Rivera who spoke at the ribbon cutting for the solar installation at the home of a City Heights family. “Standing at the home of the Nguyen-Tran family, we could see the value of investments that deliver environmental and financial benefit to San Diego families who otherwise may not be able to afford rooftop solar.”

“It’s important to us that our region’s clean energy transition is inclusive, just and equitable. No one should be left behind due to their socio-economic circumstances,” said SDG&E Chief Sustainability Officer Estela de Llanos. “SDG&E values equal access to carbon-free electricity and the benefits it brings, such as cleaner air, which also leads to healthier communities.”

Eighty percent of the program participants had incomes at 80% or less of the area median income. Over the life of the decade-long, equity-focused initiative, it has the potential to bring solar power to more than 300 San Diego families, help create prevailing wage jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The program aims to cover 100% of solar installation costs for systems up to 6.5 kilowatts at $4/watt. It also covers up to $3,500 for electrical panel upgrades for homes that need additional preparation for a solar installation.

“Ensuring equitable access to rooftop solar was a key element of the franchise agreement between the city and SDG&E that I fought for,” said San Diego City Councilmember Raul Campillo, who also participated in the ribbon cutting. “I will continue to work with SDG&E and community stakeholders to ensure the San Diego Solar Equity program delivers on our promise to expand solar equitably and lower electric bills across San Diego to those that need it the most.”

“This equity-focused initiative lowers energy costs of San Diego homeowners in historically disadvantaged communities while contributing to the City of San Diego’s ambitious climate goals,” said Center for Sustainable Energy Director of Distributed Energy Resources Jae Berg. “We are excited to apply our 26 years of clean energy expertise here in our hometown.”

The Solar Equity Program is funded by $1 million annually from SDG&E shareholder funds under the company’s franchise Energy Cooperation Agreement with the City of San Diego. The program is the result of extensive consultation and engagement with technical and community-based organizations to understand community needs and barriers to solar adoption. More than half of the total program funds will go to low-income households as defined by the San Diego County area median income. In 2022, the low-income limit for a family of four is $104,100.

To learn more about program eligibility criteria, visit SDSolarEquity.org.


Interested homeowners and solar installers can learn more at SDSolarEquity.org.

Program requirements include:

  • Eligible residences must be owner-occupied, and the solar energy systems must be customer owned.
  • Either single-family homes, duplexes, quadplexes or manufactured homes qualify.
  • Participants must reside in an area of very low, low, or moderate access to socioeconomic opportunities as defined by the San Diego Climate Equity Index.
  • Participants must be considered low- or moderate-income based on the San Diego County area median income, which varies each year. To qualify for the program, the 2022 low-income limit is $104,100 or less for a family of four, and the 2022 moderate-income limit is $128,300 or less.
  • Qualifying solar companies must hold an active license from the California Contractors State License Board.
  • Contractors must pay prevailing wages to all installers.
  • Contractors must consult with homeowners on their energy needs and assist with required paperwork.
  • Contractors may qualify for a $1,000 incentive for providing on-the-job training opportunities.

SDG&E is an innovative energy delivery company that provides clean, safe, and reliable energy to better the lives of the people it serves in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The company is committed to creating a sustainable future by increasing energy delivered from low or zero-carbon sources; accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles; and investing in innovative technologies to ensure the reliable operation of the region’s infrastructure for generations to come. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra (NYSE: SRE). For more information, visit SDGEnews.com or connect with SDG&E on X (formerly Twitter) (@SDGE), Instagram (@SDGE) and Facebook.