California Implements Large-Scale Low-Income Community Solar Initiative

by Deedee Chao

In October 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed in the country’s largest solar bill designed for low-income renters, creating the Multifamily Affordable Housing Solar Roofs Program under AB693. This new program is the successor to the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) Program established in 2008 as part of the California Solar Initiative, and aims at expanding the program to have a larger impact on low-income households.

The California Public Utilities Commission cites great demand and success in green developers collaborating in low-income housing projects to install rooftop solar as a reason for updating the program, and aims to increase renewables by setting a goal of at least 300 megawatts of rooftop solar POV on each multifamily affordable housing project. Continue reading

Crowdsourcing to Eliminate Energy Poverty

by Alison Kibe

Energy costs make up a disproportionate amount of a low income household spending so energy prices, recently at 3.2% increase per year, create a greater burden on lower incomes (Hodge, 2014). As a result, some households cannot afford to heat or cool their homes without assistance. Under some circumstances, households may even forego energy use in months they need it most. This is not a small issue, with the official poverty rate in 2013 at 14.5%— or about 45.3 million people (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014). Gridmates, a startup founded in 2014, thought of a new platform to reach those in need—through the electricity grid. Continue reading