A low-income multifamily solar program is a great way to help affordable housing providers, building owners, or large apartment complexes install solar for the direct or indirect benefit of the tenants. Utility bills are usually the largest and most volatile portion of an affordable housing development’s budget. Stabilizing utility bills through solar and other measures makes it easier to maintain operating budgets, retain tenant services and avoid raising rents.
A multifamily solar electric system may be on the roof or ground mounted. The system may be designed to offset electricity use for common areas or to offset tenant electricity usage, and be hooked up via a master meter, individual meters, or virtual net energy meters (VNEM). Regardless of how the system is structured, the savings can help the housing authority or building owner better maintain the building, provide new tenant services, and/or reduce individual tenants’ electricity bills.
What makes the low-income multifamily solar programs described here successful? They take advantage of net metering or virtual net metering, have adequate funding sources and incorporate some or all of the Guiding Principles of a low-income solar program.