What is it?
Welcome to SMUD's Neighborhood SolarShares. Your new home or apartment comes with a virtual solar system—SolarShares. As a SolarShares customer, you'll enjoy all the benefits of solar without a solar system on your roof.
Benefits of SolarShares
- Clean, renewable electricity from local sources.
- Guaranteed bill savings of $10-40 on average per year.
- SMUD maintains and operates the solar panels on your behalf. No need to worry about repairs, maintenance, or degradation.
- Support for the local green economy since all solar installations are located in SMUD territory.
- No sign-up process. SolarShares starts when you begin electric service with SMUD. You don’t have to do anything to begin receiving solar benefits.
Where does my solar power come from?
The solar farm, Wildflower Solar, went online in January 2021 and provides 13 MW of renewable, clean and carbon-free energy. The project, located about 10 miles north of Sacramento in Rio Linda, began generating enough clean, affordable energy to cover the equivalent annual electricity needs of nearly 6,000 homes. Over the next 9 years, we’re looking at adding up to 3.5 times the amount of renewables and battery storage we have today.
SMUD partnered with Lightsource bp, who owns and operates the solar farm, which provided 75 local construction jobs in our community.
We’re also coordinating with the Lightsource bp team and supporting their plans to plant new vegetation that attracts pollinators at the 60 acre solar farm. Lightsource is currently preparing a 1.4 acre “pollinator garden” within an easement that will offer more concentrated, multi-season support for pollinators including milkweed, which is critical for the Monarch butterfly. Learn more about SMUD’s pollinator efforts.
How it shows on your bill
Information about your SolarShares will appear in the “SolarShares Charges” section on your monthly SMUD bill. There are three SolarShares-related items:
- SolarShares Credit: Shows the value (in dollars) of the electricity generated by your SolarShares. This amount may change monthly based on the amount of solar produced in the bill period.
- SolarShares Charge: Shows the fixed charge to operate and maintain the panels that provide your solar power.
- SolarShares Subtotal: The difference between the SolarShares Credit and SolarShares Charge, letting you know if there's an overall credit or charge on the month's bill.
You'll notice that the SolarShares Charge is flat month-to-month. The SolarShares Credit, however, will change based on the amount of solar electricity generated. This means that your credits are higher in the summer months when the sun is shining more often than in the non-summer months. You are guaranteed to save at least $10 per kW of SolarShares per year, or approximately $10-40 each year on your SMUD bill depending on the size of your home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your new home or apartment automatically includes Neighborhood SolarShares from SMUD. The builder of your home or apartment chose Neighborhood SolarShares - just like he or she chose your home’s insulation, windows, and roofing - to comply with California’s environmental building regulations. Neighborhood SolarShares is active for 20 years and will flow from owner to owner and resident to resident. As the current resident, you are automatically enrolled. You don’t need to sign up and you will begin benefiting right away.
No action is needed. You'll begin receiving SolarShares as soon as your electric service starts in your new home or apartment.
Neighborhood SolarShares came to fruition after the California Energy Commission adopted a requirement that all new low-rise residential homes under three stories high to be built with solar starting in 2020. The requirement allowed for builders to comply with the mandate through either community solar or rooftop solar. In February 2020, the California Energy Commission approved SMUD’s Neighborhood SolarShares program as the first community solar option in the state.
The SolarShares program is not new. Collectively, SMUD’s SolarShares offerings comprise the largest utility green pricing community solar program of its kind in the nation. SMUD first developed what is now known as community solar in 2008; we called that program SolarShares and it was offered to residential customers at that time. In fact, SMUD’s commitment to solar and other renewable energy sources dates back decades. SMUD developed the world’s first commercial-scale solar photovoltaic power plant in 1984; the first solar-powered electric vehicle charging station in the western United States in 1992; and the first net-zero energy community in midtown Sacramento, featuring rooftop solar and batteries.
SMUD offers Neighborhood SolarShares with the goal of increasing customer choice and supporting housing growth in the Sacramento region. Community solar systems have environmental benefits and are economical. They are highly efficient and deliver more energy per dollar spent on the generation system—effectively maximizing a community’s clean energy investment. Community solar systems are also well-maintained and monitored, and can be easily oriented to provide more clean solar energy at times when the solar energy is more valuable. Utilizing the SMUD’s community- owned electrical grid, and distributing electricity in this way optimizes the environmental, air quality, and financial benefit to our community.
Residential SolarShares is Green-e® Energy certified and meets the environmental and consumer-protection standards set forth by the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions. Learn more at www.green-e.org.
If you’re a builder or developer of new homes , click here to learn more about the program and how to apply.