National nonprofits GRID Alternatives and Vote Solar today announced the release of their updated Low-Income Solar Policy Guide. First published in 2016, the guide is an online resource to help policymakers, utilities, and community leaders draw from proven strategies for expanding solar access that are being used in states and cities across the country.
For millions of low-income Americans, access to solar can lower energy costs, provide good local jobs, and improve community health. Realizing this potential requires policies and programs specifically designed to address the unique barriers faced by this market segment. The guide provides an overview of those barriers; key principles that should underpin any policy; and a suite of policy tools from successful programs around the nation.
New content includes:
- More robust overview pages for single-family, multifamily and community solar policy, including lessons learned.
- In-depth policy guidelines and sample bill language for low-income community solar.
- New program examples from Colorado and the District of Columbia.
- Strategies for incorporating workforce development
“Renewable energy can drive economic growth and environmental benefits in communities most impacted by underemployment, pollution and climate change,” said Erica Mackie, CEO and Co- Founder of GRID Alternatives. “Collectively, we have the tools and the expertise to put solar to work cleaning the air, creating stable, well-paid jobs, and generating community wealth. The time to act is now.”
"Solar delivers real benefits to families and businesses across the country by lowering utility bills, stimulating local workforces, and creating a healthier environment," said Melanie Santiago- Mosier, Program Director, Low-Income Solar Access at Vote Solar. "This guide gives lawmakers, advocates, and community organizations the tools to expand the benefits of solar to all communities through dedicated low-income policies and programs."
According to a recent report from National Renewable Energy Laboratory, half of the nation’s 50 million low-income households live in buildings suitable for solar, and there’s enough generation potential from rooftop solar alone to meet 80-91% of their collective electricity consumption.
GRID Alternatives is a national leader in making clean, affordable solar power and solar jobs accessible to low-income communities and communities of color. Using a unique, people-first model, GRID develops and implements solar projects that serve qualifying households and affordable housing providers, while providing hands-on job training. GRID has installed solar for more than 10,300 families to-date and helped households and housing providers save nearly $320 million in lifetime electricity costs, while training over 35,000 people. GRID Alternatives has nine regional offices and affiliates serving California, Colorado, the mid-Atlantic region, and Tribal communities nationwide, and serves communities in Nicaragua, Nepal, and Mexico.
Since 2002, Vote Solar has been working to lower solar costs and expand solar access. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Vote Solar advocates for state policies and programs needed to repower our electric grid with clean energy.