By Bay Area Living Staff
PUBLISHED: August 31, 2016 at 2:16 pm | UPDATED: September 1, 2016 at 9:37 pm

PIEDMONT — The city of Piedmont, as well as Fremont, San Francisco and Oakland and employers such as Google, Salesforce and Genentech are partnering to make it easier for Bay Area homeowners to go solar through the 2016 Bay Area SunShares program.

Under the SunShares program, any Bay Area resident (as well as residents of Sacramento and Yolo counties) can purchase discounted Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEVs), including the all-electric Nissan Leaf and the Toyota Mirai, a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle, or install rooftop solar at prices well below market rates. The program also offers free workshops that can help homeowners, drivers, and renters understand their clean energy options.

Previous SunShares programs have led to almost 5 megawatts of new solar equipment installed across Northern California, enough to power more than 820 homes.

In Piedmont, the 2015 SunShares program was responsible for seven new residential solar installations, making up about 12.5 percent of the total residential solar equipment installed in the past year. This year’s program is the largest to date, including discounts from multiple solar providers, and is the first SunShares program to fully incorporate a ZEV discount component as well as education on options for renters.

Administered by the Business Council on Climate Change (a fiscally sponsored project of the 501(c)3 organization Community Initiatives), SunShares helps solar and ZEV companies reduce high costs associated with customer education and acquisition, which in turn allows the firms to offer discounted pricing.

“The Bay Area SunShares program is a prime example of how Bay Area companies and local governments are joining forces to create local solutions toward a clean energy future,” said Christina Armor, SunShares manager with the Business Council on Climate Change. “The program is especially innovative because it helps businesses and the community work together to make it simple and affordable for people get off fossil fuels.”

A volunteer community evaluation committee selected three solar vendors (PetersenDean, Skytech Solar, and Sunrun) and two ZEV vendors (Premier Nissan of San Jose and San Francisco Toyota) for the 2016 Bay Area SunShares program.

Reduced rates are available for the 2016 Nissan Leaf all electric vehicle and the new Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Pricing for residential solar starts at 15 percent below market rates and participants can sign up to receive a no-obligation quote for their home.

“As of 2014, nearly half of Piedmont’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were the result of transportation, surpassing residential energy use as the top contributor,” said Planning Director Kevin Jackson. “However, residential consumption is still a close second at 45 percent of GHG emissions. Therefore, while Piedmont residents have done great work toward reducing their energy consumption, it is imperative to keep going in order to ensure that we meet our 2020 Climate Action Plan goal and the goals set by the city for the years after 2020.

“Access to incentives for both solar and zero emissions vehicles through SunShares provides Piedmonters with the opportunity to reduce consumption in the city’s two largest emissions sectors,” he continued.

SunShares registration officially launched Aug. 10. Participants will have until Nov. 4 to sign up for limited-time discounts, and must sign a contract with one of the selected solar or ZEV providers by Nov. 18 to qualify for the group discount available through Bay Area SunShares.

For more information on Bay Area SunShares, please write to or visit

— City of Piedmont