Available to residential, commercial customers
The Lancaster City Council unanimously approved the expansion of the Lancaster Power Choice program to include commercial and industrial customers to help simplify the process of solar adoption including removing financial barriers and ensuring lower energy bills from day one.
Lancaster, in partnership with Participate Energy and the California Choice Energy Authority (CalChoice), launched the Power Choice Solar and Battery Residential Program earlier this year for Lancaster Energy customers and will expand the program to commercial and industrial customers starting next year. Through the program, residential customers pay Lancaster Energy $0.145 per kilowatt hour and $115 for a Tesla battery per month. There are no long-term contracts for the customer and no upfront payments required to participate.
The program has become a model for other CalChoice member cities to develop similar programs, according to a presentation by Patti Garibay, assistant director of Community Development at the Oct. 24 City Council meeting.
“We saw a lot of people going solar but there was still some inequity there,” Stephen Pollock of Participate Energy said.
“The city is here to serve its residents and unfortunately, as much as we wanted to support people going solar, every time someone went solar, they might have been disqualified for a credit check, it might have been too expensive, and every time it happened the (Community Choice Aggregation), which is here to support you, actually lost revenue.”
He added they wanted to find a way to create a more accessible and cheaper product.
“Instead of you just being a taker of energy from the grid you’re producing your own, you’re controlling your own and when you want to you can actually provide services back to the grid and get compensated for it,” he said.
The commercial and industrial component, called Power Choice Plus, will be set up similarly to the residential program and will offer customers a flat rate based on their energy tier and a flat rate for one battery plus a fixed cost for any additional batteries that are required for their site. Potential commercial and industrial customers will be evaluated to ensure they are a good fit for the program and will have energy savings and benefit from the resiliency offered through the program from day one, a staff report said.
The commercial and industrial program will include incremental requirements, such as site control for 25 to 30 years.
“Our goal is to use the solar and battery to reduce your bill as much as possible and to consume as little as possible from the grid,” Pollock said.
There is no upfront cost for commercial and industrial customers. Once it’s built it’s delivered as an asset to Participate Energy and which then works with the Community Choice Aggregation to deliver services to customers. Customers will see lower energy bills through the program, Pollock said.