Summer Update Part 2: Solar Access for All

We’re serious about ensuring that everyone can participate in — and benefit from — the transition to renewable energy.

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That’s why we’re excited to announce that we’ve developed a program area dedicated to advancing policies and partnerships that expand solar access to low-income consumers. Our new Low-Income Solar Access program focuses on partnering with community leaders to develop solar programs that deliver real benefits, and we will use our national platform to draw attention and resources to the importance of building a clean energy economy that lifts all.

To kick it off, we worked with our friends at GRID Alternatives and the Center for Social Responsibility to develop a Low-Income Solar Policy Guide. Policies and programs to overcome low-income solar access issues will vary state to state, but there are five basic principles that all successful programs should have adhere to in order to effectively serve low-income customers:

  • Accessibility and Affordability – Real energy cost savings from day one
  • Community Engagement – Buy-in and participation from community stakeholders
  • Consumer Protection – Ensure participants are educated and protected
  • Sustainability and Flexibility – Create long-term market viability
  • Compatibility and Integration – Add to, don’t undermine, existing clean energy and low-income assistance programs

As we work to develop solar programs that benefit low-income communities, we will be advocating for adherence to these principles, and using the Low-Income Solar Policy Guide to educate policymakers, advocates and community stakeholders about proven options.

We’re not alone in the call for more comprehensive low-income energy access programs. The White House and multiple government partners recently launched the Clean Energy Savings for All initiative. We are thrilled to join efforts with the President and his team to expand access to clean energy.

Join us on August 17th for a webinar featuring a top White House staffer, and moderated by our own Melanie Santiago-Mosier, for a discussion on the initiative, its objectives and how it will be implemented. This will be the first in a joint webinar series with our partners at SEIA on how we’re working to expand low-income solar access.

As we embark on this exciting new policy area, we look forward to building on efforts that are already underway in some states. As one example, Maryland regulators recently approved a community solar program that prioritizes low-income solar access, complete with dedicated carve outs for low-income subscribers. It may still be in its early stages, but we think that Maryland’s program – with robust capacity, full retail rate value, and aggressive carve-outs for low-income customers – has important elements for success.

Stay tuned for more of these around the country.  Our mission is to make solar a mainstream resource across the U.S., which means striving to make solar accessible to every American. Thanks for all that you do to help us achieve that.

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