Many states have become concerned with ensuring that all segments of society, including people with low and moderate incomes, can benefit from solar and other forms of clean energy. Low- and moderate-income (LMI) residents often face particular barriers to using or benefiting from clean energy, including, among others, difficulties getting financing, frequent changes of address, language barriers, and the reluctance of some contractors to serve the low-income market.
CESA helps advance LMI solar by:
- Developing and disseminating educational materials on LMI solar, including guides and webinars.
- Publishing a free bi-monthly newsletter which summarizes news from around the country related to LMI solar and lists relevant new publications.
- Helping states develop and implement LMI strategies.
- Creating forums for states to share their experiences with low-income solar, including low-income community solar.
- Identifying best practices and promising new ideas.
Through the Sustainable Solar Education Project, CESA produced three guides related to LMI solar:
- Bringing the Benefits of Solar to Low-Income Consumers: A Guide for States and Municipalities by Bentham Paulos of PaulosAnalysis for CESA
- Publicly Supported Solar Loan Programs: A Guide for States and Municipalities by Travis Lowder of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for CESA
- Solar+Storage for Low- and Moderate-Income Communities: A Guide for States and Municipalities by Todd Olinsky-Paul of CESA
State Energy LMI Strategies
With funding support from the U.S. Department of Energy, CESA is helping five states – Connecticut, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, and Rhode Island – and the District of Columbia develop and implement LMI solar strategies. Each state has worked with key stakeholders to identify approaches that are most promising, based on the state’s particular demographics, the maturity of the solar market, and other factors. For more information, click here.
Energy Resiliency for Low-Income Communities
CESA’s sister organization, Clean Energy Group, manages the Resilient Power Project, which focuses on accelerating the use of resilient, clean energy solutions for affordable housing and critical community facilities in low-income communities. The Resilient Power Project gives special attention to deploying solar PV combined with energy storage (solar+storage) to power essential services during extended power outages and to reduce the economic burden of energy costs in vulnerable communities. The goal is to further clean energy equity by ensuring that all communities have access to the economic, health, and resiliency benefits that solar and energy storage technologies can provide. For more information, visit www.resilient-power.org.
Solar Best Practices for Under-Resourced Communities
CESA is working with Alabama A&M University, the Partnership for Southern Equity/Advancing Equity and Opportunity, the University of Michigan School for Environment & Sustainability, and Woodline Solutions to research, write, and disseminate a report on the solar landscape in under-resourced communities. The report will aim to identify the most useful strategies for advancing solar photovoltaic technologies in ways that benefit low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities. The project team will gather input from a wide range of stakeholders, including state and municipal governments, utilities, foundations, advocates for LMI populations, and the solar industry, and will especially seek to learn from the experiences of organizations that have deep roots in LMI communities. The report will tentatively be released in the Fall of 2019 and will provide advice and useful information for the different stakeholder organizations. The project is funded by the Nathan Cummings Foundation. For more information click here.