Earlier this week the Center for Social Inclusion, GRID Alternatives and Vote Solar introduced the Low-Income Solar Policy Guide. The new guide is an online tool designed to expand access to solar power and solar jobs.
The online guide shows proven policies and programs to expand access to solar power to low-income people who are often underserved by the solar industry. The guide is targeted toward policymakers and community leaders. It illustrates how national scale policies can expand solar access those in affordable housing units or households defined as low-income, collectively 28 million households in the U.S.
"To combat climate change and reduce air pollution, all our communities need affordable and extensive access to renewable energy,” said California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León. “Early policy efforts in California like the Single-family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) program proved that we can unlock solar access for our most disadvantaged communities. This policy guide shows a path forward to extend this access to low-income residents, renters, and homeowners across America."
“Today we have affordable solar and other new clean energy options at our disposal, and we need new energy policies to match. It’s time to go beyond simply protecting low-income customers to policies that truly empower them,” said Jon Wellinghoff, partner at Stoel Rives and past Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. “Having more empowered customers generating electricity, consuming less, and actively participating in our shared energy system will lead to a cleaner, more robust, and lower-cost grid for everyone.”
The guide shows the barriers to expanding solar access to low-income households as well as the need for consumer protection and financial savings when developing a strategy for increasing access to solar power. It recommends policy tools like direct incentives, on-bill financing, and green banks, each of which is actively being used in programs around the nation.
It looks at programs like California’s SASH and Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) Programs; Colorado’s Community Solar Gardens Act, Massachusetts’ Green Communities Act of 2008 and Solar Loan Program; New York’s Green Jobs-Green New York Act of 2009, its NY-Sun Affordable Solar Program, and Community Distributed Generation Program and Washington, D.C.’s Sustainable Energy Utility’s Small-Scale Solar Initiative/Solar Advantage Plus Program.
“Solar is a technology that benefits everyone,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “By providing stable electricity prices below local utility rates, solar energy can substantially reduce the energy burden of low-income households. We’re confident that with the right policies in place, solar will continue to grow all across America, bringing with it well-paying local jobs and the cleaner air quality that every American, socioeconomic status aside, deserves.”Tweet