California’s Multifamily Solar Roofs Program, which was authorized by the passage AB 693, is a response to the profound gap in the level of solar installations serving low-income renters and disadvantaged communities. When implemented in 2017, it will be the first program in the country specifically designed to provide low-income renters with increased access to the electricity generated from on-site solar energy systems and ensure direct economic benefits from solar credits allocated to each low-income household. The program will have the capacity to bring integrated solar energy benefits to more than 150,000 low-income households over the next ten years.

In response to a request for AB 693 implementation proposals, a diverse group of the state’s leading low-income, environmental, and affordable housing groups came together to submit a plan to the California Public Utilities Commission. The Nonprofit Solar Stakeholders Coalition (California Housing Partnership, California Environmental Justice Alliance, Brightline Defense Project, Natural Resources Defense Council, and National Housing Law Project) prepared a joint proposal calling for the adoption of an integrated energy strategy combining energy efficiency, solar PV, and energy storage devices to reduce energy use and costs. Further, the joint proposal requests special efforts to target solar energy systems installations in disadvantaged communities and to provide job opportunities in low-income and disadvantaged communities. The plan also recommends that an independent, statewide administrator run the program to improve upon the performance of past solar energy programs.

This comprehensive plan is the first of its kind in the nation. Beyond California, this plan – and its coalition strategy – could serve as a model for how states and communities can take action to build a more sustainable energy future in which low-income tenants can share in the benefits of the new clean energy economy.

More details about the Coalition’s plan can be found in a recent article in Renewable Energy World, prepared by Wayne Waite (formerly with California Housing Partnership Corporation), Lew Milford and Seth Mullendore of Clean Energy Group. Read it here.

Clean Energy Group will be hosting a two-part webinar series on September 22 and 29 featuring guest speakers from the Nonprofit Solar Stakeholders Coalition to discuss the details on this groundbreaking proposal. For more information on these free webinars and to register, click here.

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This article was also posted in Renewable Energy World.