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Roughly quarter of all homes are no longer 100 percent reliant on PG&E for electricity
solar MUSD
A Manteca Unified Prius is being charged with electricity generated from solar panels on the canopy above where it is parked at the district complex.

There were no solar energy systems in Manteca residential neighborhoods in 2007.

Today you’d be hard-pressed to find a neighborhood without them. 

There were 941 new solar power systems installed on Manteca homes in 2023.

The bulk were on single family homes built after 2020 as required by the State of California mandate for solar on new residential construction for single- and multi-family homes under three stories.

It is part of the strategy the state deployed in a bid to have 50 percent of the state’s electricity generated from carbon-free sources by 2030.

Firms installing systems on new homes being constructed provide buyers with the option to purchase or lease systems.

The 561 new home starts last year means roughly 40 percent of solar power systems were on homes built before 2020.

A city report issued in 2017 showed the number of solar installations closing in on 1,800.

At the start of 2020 three years later,  a report to the Manteca Planning Commission put that number at just under 4,000.

It was driven by robust tax credits, the then pending state mandate for new homes, and a California Energy Commission analysis that pegged the average savings on a new home solar installation at $19,000 over the course of 25 years.

Based on new home construction alone, Manteca likely now has in the neighborhood of 7,000 homes — or over a quarter of the current housing inventory with installed solar systems.

And while changes in net metering rules and tax credit modifications have made the numbers less “profitable” in many cases, PG&E’s continued rate increases tied to power production still makes solar viable for those with higher household electrical bills.

It should be noted solar users don’t escape PG&E rate increases related to distribution and transmission systems.

It is PG&E’s bid to reduce fire risk liability regarding the delivery system that is driving the bulk of PG&E’s current series of rate hikes including one going into effect this year that is expected to raise the average residential electric bill by $30 plus a month.

Among the largest non-residential installations in the city are at Manteca Unified school campuses, Target, Kohl’s Department Store, and the Manteca Transit Center.

There are signs that the commercial solar trend will accelerate.

The city two years ago approved plans for the proposed 420-unit Prose Apartments that are envisioned to straddle the western extension of Center Street south of the Manteca golf course.

The complex, that has yet to advance to the construction stage, will have enough solar panels in place to generate 1.3 million kilowatts of electricity annually.

That is enough to cover all the common area needs plus the anticipate electricity load for 142 of the 420 apartments.

 Manteca Unified was the second government agency in the South County region — after the South San Joaquin Irrigation District water treatment plant — to go solar.

Solar panels installed at 26 elementary and high school campuses as well as the district office went online in 2013.

The $30 million project is performing as planned. It is reducing the district’s electricity costs even after taking into account the payback for the systems being installed.

 Going forward, the district is making sure major remodeling and new construction were it is viable, such as the Manteca High gym, are plumbed for adding solar panels.

The district several months ago indicated they would be assessing the infrastructure required to meet the state mandate to eventually migrate to electric powered school buses.

Additional solar power installations may factor into that decision.

The district was he first jurisdiction to use electric vehicles, although in a limited manner.

Manteca Unified has a small fleet of Toyota Priuses they use primarily for personnel needed to travel between schools within the district.

They are charged in parking stalls at the district office that are beneath canopy with solar panels.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email