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Officials: Why Isn't There More Solar On San Diego Apartment Buildings, Condos?

Officials: Why Isn't There More Solar On San Diego Apartment Buildings, Condos?
The San Diego-based Center for Sustainable Energy is getting just over $700,000 to explore why efforts to encourage solar on multi-unit complexes are falling short.

The U.S. Department of Energy is hoping a local organization helps figure out how to get more solar panels on apartment and condo complex roofs.

Solar advocates have lamented the paucity of solar projects for bigger housing projects.

The San Diego-based Center for Sustainable Energy is getting just over $700,000 to explore why efforts to encourage solar on multi-unit complexes are falling short.

Ben Airth is a senior manager for renewable energy. He will develop a three-year research project.

"Its good enough to actually help us really, really do a comprehensive project that's going to really figure out how we can get the solar industry to use virtual net metering," Airth said.

Virtual net metering allows more than one household to share the savings from electricity produced by one large solar installation. Airth said that was how state regulators hoped to encourage the development of solar on multi-family complexes.

"California throughout the CPUC has created the virtual net metering tariff and use of that is really what can allow solar to grow in multi-family, multi-meter complexes," Airth said. "Now we've had that tariff around for a number of years and we still haven't seen a whole lot."

The study should be complete in three years. Results are expected to be shared nationally.

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