Vote Solar hosted its first meeting of the Access and Equity Advisory Committee in October. The Advisory Committee was created in response to the challenges states are having with implementation of low-income solar programs. As states implement these programs they face a number of challenges, that if left untouched, reduce access to solar programs for low-income and families of color. As states design  programs with low-income components they must always keep their eye towards building more access and a more equitable process. 

Throughout 2020 the Access and Equity Team interviewed partners in the solar industry, environmental justice organizations, and nonprofit organizations to learn what barriers customers face everyday. These interviews highlighted a number of unique challenges such as maintaining continuity for low-income customers throughout the application process and the importance of implementing transparency policies.  

The Advisory Committee was tasked with identifying challenges with low-income solar program implementation, identify best practices, and provide solutions to problems with program implementation.

The Advisory Committee came together for a one day virtual meeting to workshop two policy solutions identified through interviews: automatic enrollment for low-income programs; and providing grant support for community engagement. The members who served on this advisory committee are listed below:

  • Gary Skulnik, Neighborhood Sun 

  • Yesenia Rivera, Solar United Neighbors

  • Beth Galante, PosiGen

  • Alexandra Wyatt, GRID Alternatives

  • Lynn Heller, Climate Access Fund

  • Denise Abdul-Rahman, NAACP

  • Daphany-Rose Sanchez, Kinetic Communities Consulting

  • Zaid Ashai, Nexamp

In the virtual meeting the Committee workshopped tough questions like does automatic enrollment increase access and what are the best strategies to engage low-income customers.  The work of the Advisory Committee will culminate in an issue brief that examines how automatic enrollment and grant funding can eliminate barriers low-income customers face. 

Each year the Access and Equity Advisory Committee will rotate and meet to explore and provide recommendations to address the most pressing barriers to low-income solar program implementation. 

A special thank you to those who we interviewed but were not able to join the virtual meeting and those who were able to join. 

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