Single-Family Rooftop Solar Models

Homeowners across the country have typically participated in the solar market by installing solar directly on their property to meet a portion of their own energy needs. Coupling the core policies used to develop a strong rooftop solar market with specific provisions for ensuring low-income participation can effectively expand solar access among single-family homeowners. A low-income solar program for single-family homes provides significantly reduced- to no-cost solar electric systems to households that qualify as low-income. The definition of low-income varies by location but is typically defined as 80 percent of the area median income (AMI). The cost of the solar electric system is covered by a variety of sources, again based on location. Federal, state, and local incentives may be used to cover the cost, as well as philanthropic funds and equipment donations.

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What makes these low-income single family solar policies successful? They all take advantage of net metering, have adequate dedicated funding sources, and incorporate some or all of the guiding principles of a low-income solar program laid out in Section I.  In a snapshot:

  • DC’s 2015 Solar Advantage Plus Program included a direct incentive ($2.50/watt rebate). At no upfront cost to the homeowners, the installations were financed using a combination of SRECs, federal tax incentives, local incentives, and contractor financing.
  • CA’s SASH Program includes a direct incentive ($3.00/watt rebate); gap financing provided by the program administrator; and comprehensive programming (energy efficiency requirement and workforce development).
  • CA’s GoSolarSF includes a direct incentive (residential incentive and supplemental low-income incentive).
  • CA’s Richmond R3 Program included a direct incentive (state and local rebates) and indirect incentives.
  • MA’s Solar Carve-Out II/SREC II includes a direct incentive (solar generation serving low-income customers eligible for the highest SREC multiplier available ).
  • MA’s Solar Loan Program includes financing (cash-flow positive loans).
  • NY’s Affordable Solar Program includes a direct incentive (low-to moderate-income customers receive double the residential rebate) and comprehensive programming (encourages workforce development).
  • NY’s NY-Sun Incentive Program includes financing (provides a low-interest loan to pay for solar installations for low-income customers) and comprehensive programming (encourages workforce development).