Scaling Up Solar for Under-Resourced Communities - Community Institutions

CESA is working with affordable housing developers, community services providers, financial entities, and philanthropic organizations to inventory, analyze, and communicate models for philanthropic investment (grants, program-related investments including guarantee models, and other support) that accelerate the deployment of solar and solar+storage in multifamily affordable housing, senior care facilities, and community health centers in low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities.

The principal objectives of the effort are to increase community resilience and reduce energy costs through expanding philanthropic investment in innovative solar and solar+storage financing models, including loan guarantees, such as the Financing Resilient Power initiative implemented by The Kresge Foundation and Clean Energy Group (CEG), and portfolio finance models that aggregate multiple solar+storage projects across similar types of community-serving facilities.

Identifying Barriers to Solar+Storage Development

As an initial step in the process, CESA and CEG conducted a survey of municipalities, community organizations, affordable housing developers, and technical service providers who have been involved in developing solar and battery storage projects at community-serving facilities to assess existing market barriers. The survey resulted in two reports: one focused on the affordable housing sector and a second report looking at trends across all LMI-serving sectors and exploring differences between housing and other types of community facilities. The reports summarize the results of the survey and suggest actions to bring the benefits of solar+storage to more under-resourced communities.

State of Play of Philanthropic Investment in Solar and Solar+Storage

As a follow-up step, the project team is investigating the role of foundations in supporting the financing and deployment of solar and Solar+Storage in community institutions (including affordable housing, healthcare centers, and houses of worship) for LMI customers along a wide spectrum of debt to equity to grants to non-financial intervention models. Models could include direct cash contributions toward a project’s cost, financial guarantees, other derisking tools for financial institutions, other types of program related investment, general technical or community support such as education and/or awareness campaigns for communities, direct or indirect technical assistance, or maybe even acting as a non-profit developer.