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

Price Premiums for Homes with Rooftop Solar

by Liza Farr

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently released a study on solar PV systems housing premiums using the largest data set to date (Hoen et al. 2014). PV costs have dropped drastically in the past several years, and innovative financing options such as Power Purchase Agreements and solar leasing have made solar an increasingly popular addition to residential homes. The new study, using a hedonic pricing model, reveals an average of around $4 per watt increase in housing price for a PV home over a non-PV home. This approximates to about a 0.92% increase in value for each kilowatt installed. There also appears to be a “green cachet,” meaning buyers are willing to pay a base amount for having PV at all, with incremental increases in willingness to pay with increases in the size of the system. Unfortunately, although to be expected, there is a clear decrease in price premiums as the systems age. Since one of the biggest drawbacks of solar panels are the high input costs, this return in the form of a housing price premium could convince many homeowners to make the purchase (Hoen et al. 2014). Continue reading