- Lower-income households face a range of barriers to going solar, including being more likely to be renters or live in multi-tenant buildings, lacking access to financing, and owning property with deferred maintenance issues.
- While lower-income households typically use a higher share of their income on energy, the conventional wisdom that they use less electricity than average is likely incorrect.
- Using public and ratepayer resources to pay for low-income solar investments may provide greater and more targeted ratepayer and societal benefits than existing rate subsidy programs.
- Reforming electric rate structures to reduce cross subsidization and incorporate and prioritize low-income solar could reduce adoption barriers.
- Finding ways to enable lower-income Americans to benefit from solar will unlock huge new markets and is essential to reaching national energy goals.
- Less than five percent of domestic rooftop solar systems are installed on the 49 million households that earn less than $40,000 per year, despite this group making up 40 percent of all US households.
- There are over 67 electricity rate subsidy programs in 42 states that seek to reduce monthly electricity bills for lower-income ratepayers.
- Reallocating flat rate subsidies currently provided in nine states funds towards low-income solar would on average save low-income households $8,891over a 25-year period, with outcomes amongst states ranging from $3,940 to $15,423.
- Low-income households allowed to switch from monthly flat rate subsidies to an upfront investment in a five kilowatt solar system would pay on average $37.47 on their monthly electricity bills, even after contributing an average of $19.77 per month to repay installation cost beyond what any one state’s existing flat rate rebate would cover.