A year-long effort by the Low Income Consumer Solar (LICS) Working Group culminated in the public release of a final report and roadmap. A desirable attribute of community or shared solar projects is their ability to give access to solar energy to customers who cannot afford rooftop solar installations. The document highlights a range and variety of solar project models that could engage low- to moderate-income households. The roadmap is intended as a guide to decision-making at the regional, state, and community level.

The LICS Working Group brought together stakeholders to study the successful integration of solar projects with customer service, energy assistance, and utility operations. Well-meaning projects could unintentionally add to the financial burden of low-income customers if a project does not consider customers’ circumstances or the potential impacts of a project on other vital services.

The LICS Working Group documented significant variability in how community or shared solar projects are structured. Brainstorming exercises resulted in five alternative straw man models as a basis for considering the impacts of solar projects on low- and moderate-income households. The five models are: 1) baseline subscription model, 2) non-profit partnership model, 3) distributed energy resources as resiliency insurance model, 4) community solar for community action model, and 5) investor-owned utility incentives and arrearage management model. These characteristics of five household types were considered to highlight the potential impacts on utility services, including energy assistance, the treatment of arrearages, payment arrangements, bill payment, pricing and rate discounts, and energy efficiency programs.

All working group documents and recordings are available to the public on this website.

The February 14, 2019 press release is available for review.

The playback recording of a February 14, 2019 webcast is available. Members of the Low Income Consumer Solar Working Group joined the members of the Low Income Energy Issues Forum (LIEIF) for the event.

Filed Under: Solar