In 3 Years, Sonoma Clean Power Incentivized Over 1,250 Electric Vehicles

(SANTA ROSA, CA) – Sonoma Clean Power (SCP), the public electricity provider for Sonoma and Mendocino Counties, recently announced the results of its electric vehicle (EV) incentive program.

In an effort to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, SCP incentivized 1,258 electric vehicles for its customers over the last three years.

During each iteration of the Drive EV program, SCP customers were eligible to receive a combination of incentives, dealer discounts, and manufacturer discounts of up to $13,000 towards the purchase or lease of an electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid.

While SCP’s primary role is to provide electricity and accelerate California’s transition to renewable energy, the agency’s Mission widens its responsibility to addressing the climate crisis as a whole.

Transportation is the leading source of community-wide emissions, not only in SCP’s service territory but in many cities and counties throughout the world.

“In Sonoma County alone, the transportation sector makes up 60% of emissions county-wide. EVs are a great first step in reducing transportation-related emissions,” said Nelson Lomeli, the Programs Manager of SCP’s Drive EV program.

Replacing a gas-powered vehicle with an electric vehicle, and charging it with cleaner electricity, is one of the most significant measures an individual can take to reduce their carbon footprint. For example, by charging an EV with SCP’s 100% renewable, locally-sourced EverGreen service, an individual can reduce their emissions by up to 98%.

Over the years, SCP saw a significant increase in the number of vehicles that were purchased with the program versus leased. In 2016, only 14% of the incentives went towards purchasing vehicles. However, in this last year, 53% of the incentives were used to purchase vehicles.

This trend supports the car industry’s prediction that more people will commit to making the switch to an electric vehicle as the technology, range, and batteries continue to improve.

After 3 successful years of the Drive EV program, SCP has chosen to direct its focus and funds to improving the network of public and workplace charging infrastructure in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. The agency believes that this effort is crucial if the region hopes to see a wide-spread adoption of electric vehicles.

“With the success of Drive EV, we have achieved our goal of market transformation. With all these new EVs on the road, we now want to shift focus on expanding charging infrastructure, which will lead to more EV adoption,” said Cordel Stillman, SCP’s Director of Programs.

SCP continues to explore innovative ideas and programs that allow its customers to reduce their emissions, with both convenience and financial benefits being key to participation.

One of the agency’s notable endeavors for 2019 will be the opening of an Advanced Energy Center in downtown Santa Rosa where the public will be able to test and purchase energy-efficient technology for their homes. Adoption of these technologies will be supported by incentives from manufacturers, SCP, and a grant from the California Energy Commission.

Other SCP programs include efforts to promote building electrification, solar battery storage for commercial businesses, energy and water conservation, and demand-response.

To view the results of the 2018 Drive EV program, visit for an interactive dashboard.

About Sonoma Clean Power

Sonoma Clean Power is proud to serve the counties of Sonoma and Mendocino, as a self-funded, public electricity provider. Climate change affects everyone, so our programs are designed for everyone. SCP’s services are practical, affordable and inclusive, inviting everyone to be part of the transition toward a clean energy future. To learn more, visit or call 1 (855) 202-2139.

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Kate Kelly, Director of Public Relations/Sonoma Clean Power | 707.978.3468

Energy efficiency rebates for upgrades are available in Mendocino County

When Ukiah building contractor Howie Hawkes of Hawkes Construction learned at a workshop last week about a significant energy efficiency rebate available to property owners who are rebuilding after the Redwood Complex fires, he thought of client Renee Vinyard.

Vinyard is rebuilding her Redwood Valley home that was destroyed in the fires. Hawkes met with her and they discussed the Sonoma Clean Power/PG&E rebates of $7,500 to $17,500 that are offered specifically to help fire victims rebuild, called the state Advanced Energy Rebuild program.

“We were super interested,” said Vinyard.  “At this stage, we can make changes in the house design that would qualify us for the rebates. Building an energy efficient house makes us feel really good about the future and being able to do something about climate change. We’ll be more comfortable, particularly during tremendously hot summer days.”

Hawkes and Vinyard set an appointment to meet with Chandra Apperson of Apperson Energy Management, a certified energy analyst based in Redwood Valley. Apperson will walk them through their options, explain terminology such as high-performance attic and wall, and what’s a heat-pump water heater. If hired, she’ll complete most inspections and paperwork.

“Basically, the incentive program is designed to be fairly close to cost neutral for the customer,” said Apperson, meaning that design changes and upgraded equipment required to qualify for AER shouldn’t cost too much more than the rebate.

“But the home that is built as a result,” Apperson added, “is more energy efficient, is designed to last longer, is more comfortable and has better indoor air quality. These are things you should try to do as you are building a new home anyway.”

California’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2045 means the state is supporting home rebuilds that are tops in energy efficiency.

That’s obvious when you gather up the details and rebates available through AER.  New homes qualify for up to $12,500 in rebates and include an electric vehicle charging station that is provided, free, from Sonoma Clean Power company. An additional $5,000 for up to $17,500 in rebates is available if solar panels and a storage battery are installed.

The clincher, Apperson added, is that in order to qualify for AER rebates, a certified home energy (HERS) rater must sign off on the insulation installation before the walls of the new home are sealed. Other than that, it’s simple.

People who are rebuilding homes destroyed in the fire have two options with AER: Build a new home that is 20 percent more energy efficient than the state energy code or select from a checklist of energy and water saving items to be installed in the home. Apperson usually suggests the 20 percent over code option because it offers more flexibility.

Hawkes said Vinyard’s home already was designed to be 6 percent more energy efficient than the state code. With some tweaks, he and Vineyard will try to qualify for the energy efficiency rebate.

Apperson was one of two speakers at a workshop on home energy efficiency and solar energy offered at Mendocino College by the Sustainable Construction and Energy Technology Program.  Hawkes was one of about 15 energy efficiency professionals, contractors and building owners who attended. Moderator was Rose Bell, project manager for the Community Foundation of Mendocino County’s Rebuilding Our Community (M-ROC) team.

Bell said that Redwood Complex fire survivors who are rebuilding using M-ROC housing grants should consider energy efficiency rebate programs in order to maximize the impact of their rebuild dollars.

There are 132 building permits issued and 42 more in the queue at Mendocino County’s planning and building department as of an Oct. 1 update issued by Nash Gonzalez, Mendocino County disaster recovery director.

A very energy efficient home with solar panels and storage battery could be net zero energy, said the second workshop speaker, Richard Silsbee of Radiant Solar Technology, Inc.  That means that, even though the home may use power from the grid during a series of rainy days, it feeds enough solar power into the grid on sunny days to zero out consumption.

Silsbee said prices of solar panels have dropped dramatically. “Now anyone can live off-grid and have the same lifestyle as someone in town,” he said. Silsbee noted that today’s solar systems often are sized to support air conditioning in summer.

Though AER prompted the most discussion at the workshop, Apperson covered energy efficiency rebates that are available to all homeowners to help offset the cost of higher-end energy efficient products. Rebates are available through Dec. 31 and then could change.

City of Ukiah residents can apply to the city for rebates of up to $1,000 per item on a wide variety of efficient windows, air conditioners, ceiling fans, attic and wall insulation, Energy Star appliances and even holiday and LED lights.  Here’s a checklist:

PG&E electric and gas customers can get rebates of $50 on smart thermostats and $300 on high efficiency water heaters. With more paperwork and a PG&E energy audit, customers can earn rebates of $1,500 to $5,500 on added insulation, efficient hot water heaters and other measures that reduce energy consumption by at least 10 percent.

PG&E’s promotion says “using energy more efficiently is more than simply the right thing to do – it saves customers money on their energy bills and is the fastest, most cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

For a list of certified energy analysts including Apperson, visit


Energy efficiency rebates for upgrades are available in Mendocino County, by Suzanne Pletcher, The Ukiah Daily Journal, October 28, 2018.

Sonoma Clean Power continues to lead the way on clean power and low rates

sonoma-clean-power-logoSonoma Clean Power launched in 2014 with rates below PG&E. SCP’s standard plan is to set rates once per year. When it had its first chance to raise rates in April 2015, it chose to keep them unchanged from the previous year. This year the staff proposal is to actually reduce rates. As things stand, the average SCP customer generation rates are about 1% below PG&E’s comparable rates. The proposed rate reduction would double that savings.

On the greenhouse gas and clean power front, SCP has surpassed the state mandated 33% renewable content by 2020 with a 36% renewable energy content, six years ahead of schedule. SCP’s overall portfolio is about 80% greenhouse gas free, 48% below PG&E’s greenhouse gas content.

Unfortunately, the decades-long trend of the three large utilities to increase their rates, usually more than once per year, has continued. On January 1st a sharp increase in PG&E rates and increased PG&E fees on other service providers like Sonoma Clean Power, caused many energy customers to notice, as pointed out in a recent article in the Press Democrat. PG&E is on track to meet the state renewable energy standard by 2020 with a current portfolio that includes about 27% renewable energy.

The next Ratepayer Advisory Committee meeting will be on April 12th when the staff proposal will be reviewed one last time prior to going to the SCP Governing Board, and of course, Sonoma Clean Power’s meetings are open to the public. See you there!