Directory of State Low- and Moderate-Income Clean Energy Programs
This page was last updated in June 2021 and is not being actively maintained. Although some of the information is out of date, it may still be useful to people interested in learning about the types of programs states have implemented to benefit low- and moderate-income residents.
Many states are working to ensure that low-and-moderate-income (LMI) households can benefit from solar, wind, energy storage, renewable thermal, and other clean energy technologies. These technologies can offer economic savings and health benefits, as well as stimulate local economic development.
This directory lists and describes state clean energy programs for LMI residents and communities. It focuses primarily on clean energy generation, but also covers energy efficiency and thermal energy programs that include clean energy technologies. It contains only those state programs that feature strategies targeted specifically at LMI residents or communities. It does not include programs that are carried out by non-state parties, unless the programs are funded or administered by a state entity. It does not include federally funded low-income weatherization programs.
CESA first published the directory as a PDF report in 2015. It has been updated periodically since then. In March 2021, the directory was converted to the online format you see on this page. This allows for more frequent updates and enables users to more easily access information. If you know of additional programs that should be included in the directory or corrections to any of the entries, please email CESA Project Manager Abbe Ramanan at email@example.com.
The conversion of the directory to this web-based format and the January 2021 updates were supported by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) Award Number DE-EE-0007667.
|State||State Full Name||Program Name||Technologies||Eligible Recipients||Financial Incentives||Financing Strategies||Community Solar||Workforce Development|
|Row ID||State||State Full Name||Program Name||Description||Technologies||Eligible Recipients||Financial Incentives||Financing Strategies||Community Solar||Workforce Development||Program Description|
|1||CA||California||Disadvantaged Communities - Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing Program (DAC-SASH)||Solar PV||Homeowners||Grant||Yes||
The California Solar Initiative (CSI) was the solar rebate program for customers of California’s investor-owned utilities. Legislation in 2006 required the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to “ensure that not less than 10 percent of the funds for CSI are utilized for the installation of solar energy systems on low-income residential housing.” This led to the development of the Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing Program (SASH) and the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing Program (MASH) in 2009. Both the SASH and MASH program were scheduled to expire, but 2013 legislation added $108 million in new funding to extend the programs “to Dec. 31, 2021 or when all funds available from the program’s incentive budget has been encumbered, whichever occurs first.” The SASH program aimed “to provide existing low-income single-family homes with access to photovoltaic systems to decrease electricity usage and bills without increasing monthly household expenses.” The program offers subsidized PV systems to LMI households (below 80 percent of the area median income).
SASH is being replaced by a new program modeled on it--the Disadvantaged Communities - Single Family Solar Homes (DAC-SASH) program. This program provides up-front financial incentives of $3.00/Watt towards the installations of solar for LMI homeowners.
Participants must be in the service territory of Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), or San Diego Gas and Electric (SGD&E). The residence must be code compliant and occupied by the homeowner/applicant. In addition to installing PV systems, DAC-SASH helps enroll LMI homeowners in the utilities’ Energy Savings Assistance programs and trains volunteers. GRID Alternatives, a non-profit solar contractor, is the statewide administrator for the DAC-SASH program. SASH is expected to continue operating through the program’s statutory end-date of 2021. The DAC-SASH program provides $8.5 million in incentives annually through 2030, to be funded by utility greenhouse gas allowance revenues or public purpose program funds. The program is available to LMI customers who are resident-owners of single-family homes in disadvantaged communities. Recent changes to the program have expanded eligibility to households in California Indian Country as defined in 18 United States Code Section 1151, with some exceptions.
More information is available on GRID Alternatives’ webpage about the program (https://gridalternatives.org/what-we-do/program-administration/dac-sash) and on the CPUC webpage about the program (https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/SolarInDACs/#DC_SASH).
|2||CA||California||Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing Program (SOMAH)||Solar PV||Businesses, Multifamily Housing, Renters,||Rebate||Yes||
The California Solar Initiative (CSI) was the solar rebate program for customers of California’s investor-owned utilities. Legislation in 2006 required the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to “ensure that not less than 10 percent of the funds for CSI are utilized for the installation of solar energy systems on low-income residential housing.” This led to the development of the Single-Family Affordable Solar Housing Program (SASH) and the Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing Program (MASH) in 2009. Both the SASH and MASH program were scheduled to expire, but 2013 legislation added $108 million in new funding to extend the programs “to Dec. 31, 2021 or when all funds available from the program’s incentive budget has been encumbered, whichever occurs first.” In 2019-2020, project cancellations and adjustments to incentive claims in SCE and PG&E’s MASH programs left remaining funds for new projects. In March 2020, SCE reopened its MASH program for new applications with a remaining budget of roughly $6.6M. Shortly thereafter, on April 24, 2020, SCE closed its program as those funds were fully subscribed. In PG&E service territory, the program re-opened in October 2020 with roughly $12.4M available. SDG&E’s MASH program did not reopen as its program budget has remained fully subscribed.
Recently, California created the Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH) program as a successor program to MASH. The program plans to install solar panels on 210,000 affordable housing units in California. Properties must be multifamily residential buildings with at least five rental housing units and must be operated to provide deed-restricted low-income residential housing. One of two requirements must be met: either at least 80 percent of the households must have incomes at or below 60 percent of the area median income, or the property must be located in a CalEnviroScreen disadvantaged community. Additionally, the CPUC has established local hiring requirements to provide economic development benefits to disadvantaged communities. SOMAH will be funded at up to $100 million annually for 10 years. The funds come from participating utilities' greenhouse gas auction proceeds.
Pursuant to direction in the authorizing decision, a competitive solicitation for a statewide program administrator was held and a team consisting of the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE), GRID Alternatives (GRID), the Association for Energy Affordability (AEA), and the California Housing Partnership Corporation (CHPC) was selected. The SOMAH Program Administrator has established an advisory council comprised largely of community advocate organizations to help assess program impact effectiveness and guide program changes.
More information in on the official program website at www.calsomah.org.
|3||CA||California||California Solar Initiative Thermal Program||Thermal||Homeowners, Multifamily Housing||Rebate, Performance-Based Incentive||
The California Solar Initiative (CSI) Thermal Program offers incentives for the installation of solar hot water systems. Rebates are available to homeowners, landlords and business owners who install new solar water heating systems in the service territories of California’s three main investor-owned electric utilities as well as those served by Southern California Gas Company. Legislation (AB 797) requires that 50 percent of the total program budget be reserved for the installation of solar thermal systems in LMI residential housing or in buildings in disadvantaged communities. The program is designed so LMI households can qualify for higher rebates per thermal unit of natural gas displaced than households with higher incomes. This program is sunsetting July 1, 2020.
More information: The program website, with useful descriptions and detailed program statistics is www.csithermal.com.
|4||CA||California||California Low-Income Weatherization Program||Energy Efficiency, Solar PV||Homeowners, Multifamily Housing||Rebate||
The California Low-Income Weatherization Program (LIWP) “helps property owners and their residents to lower utility costs, save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in large multifamily properties.” The program is administered by the Association for Energy Affordability and is funded by the California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) with revenues from California’s cap-and-trade program. By 2018, $192 million had been appropriated to CSD for the implementation of LIWP.
LIWP offers financial incentives, free property assessments, work scope development, contractor procurement, construction management assistance, and quality control. There are three categories of LIWP eligible upgrades: energy efficiency; solar photovoltaics; and solar thermal. To be eligible, participating properties must be located in a CalEnviroScreen disadvantaged community and install improvements that equate to at least 15 percent modeled energy savings above existing conditions, and the property owner must have access to supporting capital to finance the project. CSD has a webpage dedicated to the program.
More information is available on CSD’s webpage about the program (https://www.csd.ca.gov/Pages/Low-Income-Weatherization-Program.aspx) and in an informational flyer with program offerings and incentives (https://camultifamilyenergyefficiencydotorg.files.wordpress.com/2020/02/liwpflyer_v2_2020.pdf).
|5||CA||California||California Community Solar Pilot Program||Solar PV||Homeowners, Multifamily Housing, Renters||Rebate, Bill Credit/Reduction||Yes||
The Community Solar Pilot Program is administered by the California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) to provide solar energy benefits to LMI households. With program oversight and direction provided by the California Air Resources Board, CSD will provide up to $5 million in funding for two community solar projects for the purposes of making the benefits of solar energy more available to eligible LMI households, lowering residents’ energy bills, and providing co-benefits to communities, including economic and workforce development. The two projects were selected in November 2018. According to CSD, the pilot projects were estimated for completion in late-2020.
More information about the Community Solar Pilot Program can be found on CSD’s Low-Income Weatherization Program webpage: www.csd.ca.gov/Pages/Low-Income-Weatherization-Program.aspx.
|6||CA||California||Disadvantaged Communities - Green Tariff Program||Solar PV||Businesses, Multifamily Housing, Organizations||Rebate, Bill Credit/Reduction||Yes||
For residents unable to participate in SOMAH or DAC-SASH, the Disadvantaged Communities – Green Tariff (DAC-Green Tariff) program will provide a 20 percent electricity bill discount to selected customers living in disadvantaged communities. Subscribing customers will receive 100 percent solar energy purchased by their utility. Modeled after the green tariff portion of the existing Green Tariff/Shared Renewables programs, the DAC-Green Tariff Program is available to customers who live in disadvantaged communities and meet the income eligibility requirements for the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) and Family Electric Rate Assistance programs. The DAC-Green Tariff program is funded by utility greenhouse gas allowance revenues or public purpose program funds. The CPUC approved the program in June 2018.
More information is available on the CPUC website at https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/General.aspx?id=6442461840.
|7||CA||California||Community Solar Green Tariff Program||Solar PV||Businesses, Multifamily Housing, Organizations||Rebate||Yes||
The Community Solar Green Tariff program allows customers in disadvantaged communities to benefit from the development of solar generation projects located in their own or nearby disadvantaged communities. Participants, a significant number of whom must be low-income, will receive a 20 percent bill discount. The communities will work with a local non-profit or local government “sponsor” to organize community interest and present siting locations to the utility; the sponsor can also receive an incentive for its efforts. The major difference between the DAC-Green Tariff program and the Community Solar Green Tariff program is that the Community Solar Green Tariff program requires community involvement with the solar project through a local sponsor and will result in a solar facility serving a nearby community. The program is funded by utility greenhouse gas allowance revenues or public purpose program funds. The CPUC approved the program in June 2018 and Resolution E-4999 modified it in 2019 to further enhance clean energy access for LMI users.
More information is available on the CPUC website at https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/SolarInDACs/#CSGT.
|8||CO||Colorado||Colorado Rooftop Low-Income Program||Energy Efficiency, Solar PV||Homeowners, Multifamily Housing||Grant||
In 2016, Colorado’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) began installing rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV) on client homes. Eligibility in the program is limited to households with maximum gross annual income not exceeding 60 percent of the estimated state median income. The installations must meet criteria to ensure they will provide a high return on investment. Program estimates show that solar PV can save customers over $400 each year through reduced electricity costs. Colorado WAP currently installs rooftop solar PV on 100 to 150 homes annually, with a total annual capacity of 350 to 550 kilowatts.
More information is available on the Colorado Energy Office website at https://energyoffice.colorado.gov/rooftop-solar-pv.
|9||CO||Colorado||Colorado Community Solar Gardens||Solar PV||Homeowners, Multifamily Housing, Renters||Bill Credit/Reduction||Yes||Yes||
In 2010, Colorado enacted the Community Solar Gardens Act, which directed the state’s investor-owned electric utilities to build community solar projects across the state. The Community Solar Gardens Act defines a community solar garden as a solar electric generation facility with a nameplate rating of 2 MW or less and in which subscriptions are owned by 10 or more customers of a qualifying retail utility. The legislation required project developers to reserve 5 percent of each community solar garden for low-income subscribers. Low-income subscribers include households at or below 185% of the federal poverty line or eligible service providers under state regulations. Implementation commenced in 2012.
In November 2016, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission approved a legal settlement between the state’s largest investor-owned electric utility, Xcel Energy, and various stakeholder organizations. Under the terms of the settlement, Xcel agreed to manage the community solar garden’s 5 percent low-income requirement that developers had previously been responsible for through at least 5MW of 100 percent low-income-customer-subscribed community solar gardens. The settlement also required Xcel also agreed to contract for up to competitively solicit another 4 MW of 100 percent low-income-customer-subscribed community solar gardens. The first projects contracted by Xcel under the settlement came online in 2019. Xcel has continued this program structure in subsequently renewable energy plans. Xcel’s program is branded as Solar*Rewards Community.
Black Hills Energy, another Colorado utility regulated by the Public Utilities Commission, competitively solicits community solar gardens and is subject to state law requiring each garden to reserve at least 5 percent of shares for low-income subscribers.
More information is available on the Xcel Solar*Rewards Community webpage at https://www.xcelenergy.com/programs_and_rebates/residential_programs_and_rebates/renewable_energy_options_residential/solar/available_solar_options/community-based_solar.
|10||CT||Connecticut||Connecticut Solar for All||Solar PV||Businesses, Homeowners||Rebate||
In 2014, Connecticut Green Bank added an elevated production-based incentive for solar installations for LMI households as part of its Residential Solar Incentive Program (RSIP). Only third-party-owned systems are eligible for the elevated LMI incentive. The incentive is paid to the solar company that owns the system, which is then able to offer a reduced price to the customer. To qualify for the elevated LMI incentive, solar companies must submit their proposed product pricing, marketing strategy, and qualifications, and agree to abide by program rules. The use of price escalators is not permitted. The elevated LMI incentive was originally set at $0.11/kWh. Its current value is $0.081/kWh. The RSIP was extended in 2020 when the program hit its 300-MW capacity cap to allow for an additional 32 megawatts of capacity.
PosiGen, a solar company with a history of serving LMI households, was the first company to be approved for Connecticut’s elevated LMI incentive and was also selected through a competitive process to receive financing to enter the state’s LMI solar market in 2015. PosiGen, in partnership with Connecticut Green Bank, has since been providing solar and energy efficiency services to LMI Connecticut homeowners through Connecticut’s Solar for All program, which uses community-driven marketing campaigns to target underserved communities. Under Connecticut’s Solar for All program, the Connecticut Green Bank assists PosiGen in the execution of the solar campaigns through the co-branding of marketing materials, community and municipal partner outreach, marketing training, and consultation support.
More information is available on the Connecticut Green Bank’s website (https://www.ctgreenbank.com/solarforall/) and in a CESA report, Building a State Solar Program for Low- and Moderate-Income Homeowners: Replicating Connecticut’s Success.
|11||CT||Connecticut||Smart-E Loans||Energy Efficiency, Solar PV, Thermal||Homeowners||Loan Loss Reserve, Reduced Interest Rate||Alternative Credit Score||
The Connecticut Green Bank offers a loan product called Smart-E, which funds interest rate buy-downs and a loan loss reserve to attract local lending. Smart-E Loans can be used to finance efficiency improvements, new heating and cooling systems, efficient water heaters, and renewable generation. Eligibility in the program is limited to Connecticut properties that are owner occupied, individually metered, and in 1-to-4-unit residential housing. The Connecticut Green Bank offers the Smart-E loan through a network of local lenders including credit unions and a community development financial institution (CDFI). The Smart-E Loans initially required a FICO score above 640 and a debt-to-income ratio of 45 percent.
In December 2016, the Connecticut Green Bank’s CDFI Smart-E partner launched a credit-challenged version of the loan that opened the underwriting requirements to a minimum 580 FICO and a debt-to-income of 50 percent. Four other credit unions and one community bank in the program launched their own credit-challenged products in March-April 2017. Other lenders in the program that do not offer a credit-challenged option refer their customers to the participating CDFI to be served.
The Smart-E Loan encourages deeper penetration of clean energy and energy efficiency measures by offering a lower, “bundled” rate of .99 percent when financing multiple energy improvements (e.g., solar PV, insulation, ductless heat pumps, etc.). More than 85 percent of Smart-E Loan volume consists of these bundled measures. Smart-E special offers are also available for certain qualifying measures.
More information on the Connecticut Green Bank webpage dedicated to Smart-E: www.ctgreenbank.com/smarte.
|12||CT||Connecticut||Shared Clean Energy Facilities Program||Solar PV||Businesses, Homeowners, Organizations, Renters||On-Bill Financing||Yes||
In 2015, the Connecticut legislature mandated the development of a two-year pilot program for shared clean energy facilities in the state. The resulting program, which was administered by Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, allowed for up to 6 MW of shared clean energy facilities in the state. In May 2018, the Connecticut legislature ratified Public Act 18-50, which established a statewide Shared Clean Energy Facilities (SCEF) program that included many of the same elements as the pilot program. The 2018 legislation required, among other things, that 20% of each facility’s output go to LMI subscribers or LMI service organizations. The first full year of the program launched in April 2020, and customer enrollments are expected to begin in Spring of 2021. The statewide SCEF program is not expected to launch until January 2020.
More information is available on the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Program page for the Shared Clean Energy Facilities Program: https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Energy/Shared-Clean-Energy-Facilities/Shared-Clean-Energy-Facilities-Pilot-Program.
|13||CT||Connecticut||EnergizeCT Health and Safety Revolving Loan Fund||Energy Efficiency||Multifamily Housing||Reduced Interest Rate||
The Connecticut Green Bank has been authorized to provide low-interest loans to multifamily affordable housing developers to upgrade the energy performance, economics, and health and safety of their properties. The loans are for owners of multifamily housing, serving primarily low-income residents, to remediate health and safety issues that must be completed in conjunction with or that will enable follow-on energy upgrades and improvements. Loans are generally able to be repaid based on new cash flow that could be generated from the energy, operations, and maintenance cost savings of the upgrades.
More information is on the Connecticut Green Bank webpage about the Fund: https://www.ctgreenbank.com/programs/multifamily/energizect-health-safety-loan/
|14||CT||Connecticut||Low-Income Multifamily Energy||Energy Efficiency, Solar PV||Multifamily Housing||Reduced Interest Rate||
The Low-Income Multifamily Energy (LIME) program finances energy efficiency and renewable energy in LMI multifamily properties with loan terms of up to 20 years. To be eligible for LIME, multifamily properties must have five or more units and at least 60 percent of the units must be designated affordable to households at no greater than 80 percent of Area Median Income. Preferred consideration is given to “high impact” properties, such as US Housing and Urban Development-financed properties, Connecticut Housing Finance Authority-financed properties, Federal Housing Administration-insured developments, properties in LMI geographies, and transit-oriented development complexes.
More information is on the Connecticut Green Bank webpage dedicated to LIME: https://www.ctgreenbank.com/programs/multifamily/lime/
|15||DC||District of Columbia||DC Solar for All||Solar PV||Multifamily Housing, Homeowners, Renters||Grant||Yes||
The Solar for All program aims to “reduce by at least 50 percent the electric bills of at least 100,000 of the District’s low-income households with high energy burdens by December 31, 2032.” The program was established by the District’s Renewable Portfolio Standard Expansion Amendment Act of 2016.
Solar for All is funded by the Renewable Energy Development Fund (REDF). The REDF is a special purpose revenue fund to be used for promoting solar energy projects in the District; it is funded through compliance fees paid by electricity suppliers as required by the District’s Renewable Energy Portfolio standard. The DC Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) is partnering withDC government agencies, DC Sustainable Energy Utility and many other organizations across the District to install solar on single family homes and develop community solar projects to benefit renters and residents in multi-family buildings. Solar for All participants should expect to see a 50 percent savings on their electricity bill over 15 years. In 2019, DOEE funded 9 projects under its Innovation and Expansion Grants program. The projects added 7 megawatts of new generation, providing benefits to 8,600 residents. At the end of 2020, the District completed the Oxon Run Community Solar project which is now the largest clean energy project in DC with 7,200 panels, will produce approximately 2.6 MW of solar capacity (DC), and will provide solar benefits to over 750 households.
More information is available on a DOEE webpage dedicated to the Solar for All (https://doee.dc.gov/solarforall) and in the most recent annual report about the program (https://doee.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/ddoe/service_content/attachments/FY%202019%20Anual%20Report%281%29.pdf)
|16||HI||Hawaii||Green Energy Market Securitization On-Bill Repayment Program||Solar PV, Thermal||Homeowners, Multifamily Housing, Organizations, Renters||On-Bill Financing, Rate Reduction Bond||
Hawaii’s On-Bill Financing Program was created in 2013 by Act 204 and implemented to 2014 to make clean energy systems more affordable. The Green Energy Market Securitization (http://www.gems.hawaii.gov/) (GEMS) program is administered by the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority (HGIA). HGIA was created by the Legislature to make clean energy investments accessible and affordable to a broader cross-section of Hawaii’s utility ratepayers, with a portion of its funds to benefit underserved communities, LMI households, renters, and nonprofits. Initial capital for the program in the amount of $150 million was raised through state-issued “rate-reduction” bonds. The bonds are repaid through a monthly fee on the electric bills of all residential electric customers.
In 2018, Hawaii’s Public Utilities Commission approved the GEMS On-Bill Program, an innovative financing program for homeowners and renters, designed to help low-income Hawaiians access solar. The program is designed to provide renters, low-income households, nonprofits and other Hawaiian Electric ratepayers on most rate schedules the opportunity to install solar hot water heaters, solar photovoltaic systems and/or commercial energy measures, effectively removing significant barriers such as installation costs and conventional credit underwriting requirements.
More information is available on the GEMS website at www.gems.hawaii.gov
|17||IL||Illinois||Illinois Solar for All Program||Solar PV||Homeowners, Organizations, Renters||Rebate||Yes||Yes||
Illinois’ 2016 Future Energy Jobs Act ordered the establishment of the Illinois Solar for All program. The program promotes solar development in low-income communities in the state using incentives. Overseen by the Illinois Power Agency, an independent state agency, and administered by Elevate Energy, a Chicago-based non-profit organization, the program uses Renewable Energy Credit (REC) purchases to subsidize solar development in low-income communities.
The program, which launched in 2019, increases participation in solar projects serving income-eligible Illinois homeowners and renters, and public agencies and non-profit organizations serving under-resourced communities. It provides incentives for both onsite distributed generation projects and community solar projects for eligible participants. Eligible households must have income levels of 80 percent of the area median income or less.
The program requires that pre-qualified solar companies—Approved Vendors—provide services with guaranteed savings and no upfront costs to participants. Participant costs associated with solar contracts under the program may not exceed 50 percent of the value of the solar energy generated. In addition, Approved Vendors must meet hiring and job training requirements, which are designed to encourage job creation for members of historically marginalized communities.
For the 2020-2021 program year, the Solar for All program has an incentives budget of $16.85 million for low-income distributed generation projects; $12.16 million for low-income community solar, and $4.85 for solar for nonprofits and public facilities. The program also provides funding for grassroots organizations to educate communities about solar and opportunities to participate in the Solar for All program.
More information is available on the Illinois Solar for All website at https://www.illinoissfa.com/.
|18||ME||Maine||Heat Pump Rebate||Thermal||Homeowners||Rebate||
Efficiency Maine, an independent administrator of programs to improve the efficiency of energy use and reduce greenhouse gases in Maine, provides financial incentives and guidance to Maine residents. Within the residential heat pump program, there are elevated rebate levels for LMI consumers to help reduce the upfront cost to purchase and install a high-efficiency ductless heat pump. Eligible users must own their home and participate in LIHEAP (or meet home value requirements, which vary by county). Customers must use an installer from the “Residential Registered Vendor” list. The rebates offer $2,000 for the first heat pump and $500 towards a second installation.
More information is available on the Efficiency Maine website at https://www.efficiencymaine.com/income-eligible-heat-pump/.
|19||MD||Maryland||Community Solar Pilot Program||Solar PV||Homeowners, Renters||Rebate||Yes||
In June 2016, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) approved rules creating the Community Solar Pilot Program. The program allows for 218 MW of community solar generation, with about 60 MW initially set aside for projects focused on LMI customer participation. The Maryland PSC defines low-income as a subscriber whose gross annual household income is at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty level for the year of the subscription. It defines moderate-income as a subscriber whose gross annual household income is at or below 80 percent of the state median income for the year of subscription.
Customers may subscribe to any community solar energy generating system that is located in the same electric company service territory as the customer. Utilities participating in the pilot are BGE, Delmarva Power & Light, Potomac Edison Company, and Potomac Electric Power Company (Pepco). The PSC’s Community Solar Pilot website lists the respective links (https://www.psc.state.md.us/electricity/community-solar-pilot-program) for each utility’s program information. Subscriber organizations began applying to the PSC in April 2017 for authorization to participate in the program, and some projects began signing up subscribers by mid-2018.
In 2019, the Maryland State Legislature extended the pilot to seven years and instructed the PSC to increase program capacity. Adjustments to the pilot program included initiatives to support the LMI community. The program stipulates that 30 percent of the solar capacity must be associated with LMI projects and that 10 percent of each LMI solar project’s energy exclusively serve low-income participants. New regulations enacted in 2020 provides specific protections (https://energy.maryland.gov/Residential/SiteAssets/Lists/Community Solar LMIPPA/EditForm/Community Solar for the LMI Community.pdf) to vulnerable communities, such as ensuring the PPA model for participating projects is portable to accommodate residents who move frequently.
More Information is available on pilot program’s webpage at at www.psc.state.md.us/electricity/community-solar-pilot-program.
|20||MD||Maryland||The Community Solar LMI-PPA Grant Program||Solar PV||Homeowners, Renters||Rebates||Yes||
Through the Community Solar LMI-PPA Grant Program, the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) provides grants to subscriber organizations that provide favorable terms to LMI subscribers. Grants will be given to subscriber organizations based on the sum of the “Subscription Incentive” and a “Term Incentive.” The Subscription Incentive provides funds proportional to the difference between the net present value of the proposed subscription rate and the net present value of the assumed baseline subscription rate. The Term Incentive provides funds to support shorter subscription periods; shorter subscription periods receive higher incentives than longer subscription periods. In September 2020, the MEA announced that $669,721 for the program to grant one or more projects selected competitively (subject to funding availability).
More information is included in an overview memo about community solar for the LMI community (https://energy.maryland.gov/Residential/SiteAssets/Lists/Community%20Solar%20LMIPPA/EditForm/Community%20Solar%20for%20the%20LMI%20Community.pdf)
|21||MD||Maryland||LMI Energy Efficiency Grant Program||Energy Efficiency||Homeowners, Renters||Grant, Rebate||Yes||
For fiscal year 2021, the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) allocated up to $6.5 million of grant funding to support LMI residents in Maryland with energy efficiency and weatherization projects. The program provides the funds to nonprofit organizations and local governments that assist the LMI community with these energy improvements. The grant allocations are determined by region and the income-level support is based on county. The MEA considers “low-income” residents as households that earn up to 175 percent of the federal poverty level. “Moderate income” is separately distinguished by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) as 85 percent of the median income of the resident’s county. The grants can support new construction and existing homes with projects that improve the performance and efficiency of the home, including measures such as insulation, air sealing, and LED bulbs.
More information is on the program website is at https://energy.maryland.gov/residential/Pages/CommunitySolarLMI-PPA.aspx.
|22||MA||Massachusetts||SMART Program||Solar PV, Unspecified||Businesses, Organizations||Performance-Based Incentive||Yes||
The Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program was developed by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and offers bonuses for specific types of installations in addition to a baseline incentive amount. These “adders” increase the per kWh incentive for building a solar canopy, using energy storage, and other innovative solar systems. Like its predecessor program, SREC II, the SMART program includes adders for low-income customers (defined as those who qualify for reduced utility rates), which are spelled out in detailed guidelines. Under the program, systems under 25 kW that serve low-income customers receive 15 percent more than other similar-sized systems. Community solar systems serving primarily low-income customers receive an adder of $0.06/kWh. (Other community solar systems receive a $0.05/kWh adder.) The SMART Program began accepting applications in 2018. The SMART Program is currently undergoing emergency rulemaking; the latest information can be found on the state’s website.
More information about the SMART program is at available on the program website, www.mass.gov/solar-massachusetts-renewable-target-smart.
|23||MA||Massachusetts||Mass Solar Loan||Solar PV||Homeowners||Loan Loan Reserve, Reduced Interest Rate||Loan||
In 2014, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center worked together to develop the $30 million Mass Solar Loan program, which launched in late 2015. The program connects homeowners interested in installing solar PV systems with financing opportunities through low-interest loans. The program initially provided loan support for customers without any income limitations, but since 2017 provides loan subsidies for LMI participants only.
Although loan terms may vary by lender, homeowners who are approved for the Mass Solar Loan program can expect a tenure of at least ten years, a low fixed-interest rate, loan amounts between $3,000 and $60,000, and a $500 maximum on closing costs. Loans may be unsecured or secured. The Mass Solar Loan program uses its funds in three ways: an interest rate buy-down; a loan loss reserve to encourage lenders to loan to those without top credit scores; and an additional incentive applied directly to the loan principal. The Mass Solar Loan incentives will expire December 31, 2021 or earlier if the remaining funds are committed.
More information is available on the program website (www.masssolarloan.com) and in a CESA case study for a 2020 State Leadership in Clean Energy Award (https://www.cesa.org/resource-library/resource/2020-slice-report/).
|24||MA||Massachusetts||Whole-Home Air-Source Heat Pump Pilot||Thermal||Homeowners, Multifamily Housing||Rebate||
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) offers a heat-pump pilot program to new and existing homes in Massachusetts to help defray upfront costs. There are additional incentives for households that earn less than 80 percent and 120 percent of the state median income. To be eligible, new construction residences or gut renovations may not use a fossil fuel source for back-up heat. Facilities with 1-4 units can participate. Existing homes must submit 36 months of gas usage data and applications are accepted through June 21, 2021.
More information is available on the MassCEC website at https://www.masscec.com/air-source-heat-pumps-1 and https://files-cdn.masscec.com/2020%20WholeHomePilotManual_10.29.20.pdf.
|25||MN||Minnesota||Xcel Energy’s Solar*Rewards Program||Solar PV||Businesses, Homeowners, Organizations||Rebate||On-Bill Financing, Rate Reduction Bond||
Xcel Energy added a low-income component to its existing Solar*Rewards incentive program for Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Commerce worked closely with Xcel as they designed the low-income component and set the new incentive levels. The Minnesota PUC began reviewing the proposed tariff, which includes both an upfront incentive and a production-based incentive, on September 25, 2018, and the program launched in 2019, with approximately $1 million of the $10 million program earmarked for its Income-Qualified Customers program. Single-family qualifiers of the Solar*Rewards Income-Qualified Program will receive an upfront payment of $2 per watt and annual production incentives of 7 cents per kWh over the first 10 years. To qualify for the incentive as a single family, applicants must be qualified as a federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or federal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) participant. Low-income nonprofit and multifamily qualifiers who serve low-income Xcel customers will receive a $1 per watt upfront payment for newly installed solar PV systems and 6 cents per kWh in production incentives for the first 10 years. New community solar gardens that serve low-income customers will be eligible for a 50-cent per watt upfront payment and 6 cents per kWh production incentive.
More information is available on Xcel Energy’s website at: renewable_energy_options_residential/Solar/Available_Solar_Options/on_your_home_or_in_your_yard/solar_rewards_for_residences .
|26||MN||Minnesota||Connecting Low-Income Communities through Efficiency and Renewable Resources (CLICERS)||Solar PV, Energy Efficiency||Homeowners, Organizations, Renters,||Yes||
The Minnesota Department of Commerce was the project lead for Minnesota under a US Department of Energy award that included four other states (Connecticut, New Mexico, Oregon, and Rhode Island) and the District of Columbia to develop and implement strategies for increasing market penetration of solar PV among LMI residents and communities. As part of Minnesota’s strategy, Commerce is collaborating with utility, solar industry, and community stakeholders to implement strategies to promote broader access to solar. In pursuit of these strategies, Commerce implemented an initiative called Connecting Low-Income Communities through Efficiency and Renewable Sources (CLICERS). Participants in CLICERS helped shape solar-based strategies in an action plan, “Strategic solar actions for income-eligible Minnesota households,” released in June 2018. CLICERS also helped develop a second plan that focuses on the use of efficiency and renewables to reduce the energy burden among income-eligible households.
The solar-based strategies action plan identifies three main solutions:
More information is available in Minnesota’s action plan for expanding access to solar for LMI Minnesotans: https://mn.gov/commerce-stat/pdfs/li-solar-action-plan.pdf.
|27||NH||New Hampshire||Low-Moderate Income Solar Program||Solar PV||Homeowners, Multifamily Housing, Organizations, Renters||Bill Credit/Reduction||
Following the passage of the “New Hampshire Clean Energy Jobs and Opportunity Act of 2017” (SB129), a low-income solar RFP was issued in the spring of 2018. The initial $405,000 of funding came from Alternative Compliance Payments made by utilities under New Hampshire’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. One of three resulting projects was on a multifamily housing complex, one was at a resident-owned mobile home park, and one was a more traditional community solar project. Each participant in the third project receives a $20 - $25 credit on their monthly electric bill for two years. None of the three projects involves any cost to the recipients.
In 2019, the Low-Income Community Solar Act (SB 165) expanded and improved the original Clean Energy Jobs and Opportunity Act. It required the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to authorize at least two new LMI community solar projects per utility territory each year starting in 2020. According to the 2020 Cost and Benefits Report, “When operational, the projects, as proposed, will generate an estimated 600,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually and provide direct benefits to 123 LMI households, plus 21 non-LMI households.
More information on this program and community renewable projects can be found in the New Hampshire Renewable Energy Fund annual report: https://www.puc.nh.gov/sustainable%20energy/Renewable%20Energy%20Fund/20201001-PUC-SE-2020-REF-Report-to-Legislature.pdf.
|28||NJ||New Jersey||Community Solar Pilot||Solar PV||Businesses, Organizations||Grant||Yes||
In May 2018, Governor Murphy signed A3723/S2314, legislation which mandated the creation of the Community Solar Energy Pilot Program. In August 2018, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) proposed a rule establishing a three-year Community Solar Energy Pilot Program. The Pilot Program would earmark 40 percent of the overall program capacity for LMI projects. The rule would set the annual capacity limit for community solar projects approved for participation in the Pilot Program at 75 megawatts for the first year of the program and at least 75 megawatts for the second and third years.
More information is available on the pilot program website at https://njcleanenergy.com/renewable-energy/programs/community-solar.
|29||NY||New York||NY-Sun and Affordable Solar||Solar PV||Homeowners, Multifamily Housing, Renters||Grant||
The $1 billion NY-Sun initiative is designed to build a self-sustaining solar industry in New York and help achieve strategic energy goals under the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy and the state’s Clean Energy Standard. Through the NY-Sun program, NYSERDA provides financial incentives and financing options for the installation of new grid-connected solar photovoltaic systems that will offset the use of grid-supplied electricity. NY-Sun includes a range of programs, including some that are focused on LMI residents.
The Affordable Solar program, a component of NY-Sun, provides LMI residents with assistance to develop solar projects. Under the Affordable Solar program, households earning less than 80 percent of the area’s or the state’s median income are eligible for a doubling of incentives provided by the NY-Sun program.
More information about Affordable Sun Incentive Eligibility is available at www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/NY-Sun/Solar-for-Your-Home/Paying-for-Solar/Incentives-and-Financing.
|30||NY||New York||New York Affordable Solar Predevelopment and Technical Assistance||Solar PV, Unspecified||Businesses, Organizations||Grant||Yes||
The Affordable Solar Predevelopment and Technical Assistance program is part of the New York Clean Energy Fund’s market development efforts. The program provides funding to address resource gaps and solve market barriers preventing the development of solar installations serving LMI households. The program supports planning and implementation of solar projects and/or energy storage projects that benefit LMI customers or affordable housing residents. Eligible applicants include multifamily affordable housing providers, community organizations or agencies, and technical service providers working in partnership with any of these entities. Proposals may request up to $200,000 for predevelopment and technical assistance work on a proposed solar project or group of projects. The funding does not apply to system design, engineering, hardware, installation, or other costs related to construction of a solar project. Instead, it can be used to fund project activities in finance, legal, procurement, customer outreach, and business model design. The Predevelopment Program is accepting applications 2024.
More information is available on the NYSERDA webpage about the program: www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/NY-Sun/Communities-and-Local-Governments/Predevelopment-and-Technical-Assistance.
|31||NY||New York||Solar for All||Solar PV||Homeowners, Renters||Rebate||Yes||
In December 2017, NYSERDA filed a plan for a low-income community solar initiative, called Solar for All, that will enable approximately 10,000 low-income New Yorkers to participate in community solar subscriptions that reduce their total electricity bill. NY-Sun will, through a competitive solicitation process, secure community solar subscriptions and provide them to low-income customers at no cost. NY-Sun will also work with low-income energy efficiency programs, utilities, community agencies, solar project developers, investors, and other stakeholders to market the program to low-income customers. To qualify for Solar for All, participants must, among other things, pay their own electric utility bills, meet income eligibility requirements (below 60 percent of state median income), and have used a minimum of 2,000 kWh over the last twelve months of their electric bills. Homeowners and renters enjoy the benefits of clean energy and monthly bill credits. The program began signing up participants in the summer of 2018.
More information is on NYSERDA’s Solar for All webpage: www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/NY-Sun/Solar-for-Your-Home/Community-Solar/Solar-for-All.
|32||OR||Oregon||Solar Innovation Grants||Solar PV||Organizations||Grant||Yes||
In 2018, Energy Trust Oregon, a nonprofit organization that helps Oregon utility customers benefit from energy efficiency and renewable energy, realized that it needed to better understand the perspectives of the state’s low-income communities, particularly low-income communities of color. The state hosted a series of public listening sessions, which prompted the creation of the Solar Innovation Grant program. Grants from this program help community-based organizations develop programs that benefit LMI residents through solar technology. Awardees can use grant funds to offset solar program development costs such as staff time, energy studies, and professional services such as grant writing. Demonstration projects that result from the Innovation Grants will be able to access additional solar incentives through Energy Trust. In 2019, Energy Trust awarded $81,600 in grants to nine community-based organizations.
More information is available in an Energy Trust press release about the launch of the grant program and in a CESA case study for a 2020 State Leadership in Clean Energy Award (https://www.cesa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020SLICE.pdf).
|33||OR||Oregon||Solar Within Reach||Solar PV||Homeowners, Renters||Rebate||
In 2020, Energy Trust of Oregon, a nonprofit organization that helps Oregon utility customers benefit from energy efficiency and renewable energy, issued the Solar Within Reach incentive to help LMI homeowners access solar. Inspired by the public listening sessions Energy Trust held in low-income communities across the state in 2018, Solar Within Reach provides elevated solar incentive rates for households that fall below a specific income threshold. Homes can be single-family, manufactured, floating or attached, side-by-side duplex, triplex or fourplex units. Qualifying residents receive a $1.50/watt discount on their solar installation, with a maximum discount of $9,000. As part of Solar Within Reach, contractors provide longer, full-system warrantees at no additional cost.
More information is on the Solar Within Reach project webpage at https://www.energytrust.org/incentives/solar-within-reach/#tab-one.
|34||OR||Oregon||Oregon Community Solar Program||Solar PV||Organizations, Homeowners, Renters||Bill Credit/Reduction||Yes||
In 2016, Oregon enacted legislation authorizing a community solar program. The final rules for Oregon’s community solar program, UM 1930, were adopted in July 2017. Consistent with statutory requirements, the rules require “that at least 10 percent of the total generating capacity of the program be allocated exclusively for use by low-income residential customers.” The program launched in 2019 and is administered by Energy Trust of Oregon in conjunction with Community Energy Project and Energy Solutions. The program is funded by ratepayers in the PGE, Pacific Power and Idaho Power territories, as well as non-low-income subscribers to the Community Solar Program. In addition to offering incentives for income-eligible customers, the Community Solar Program offers development assistance to qualifying community organizations who may wish to develop a community solar project.
|35||RI||Rhode Island||Community Renewables||Solar PV||Homeowners, Renters||Rebate||Yes||
The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) is working to ensure that solar is an option for all Rhode Islanders. This requires new approaches to solar, including community solar opportunities, for customers that do not have a traditional “good site” for solar, tenants of multifamily buildings, condo owners, and low/moderate income (LMI) households. In cooperation with the state, National Grid, the electric utility that serves almost all of Rhode Island launched two community solar programs, the Community Remote Distributed Generation (CRDG) program and the Community Remote Net Metering (CRNM) program. The state has created an incentive program, called Community Renewables, which is intended to increase the number of LMI residents who participate in the CRNM program. In addition, the state Office of Energy Resources is working with LMI communities to learn how community solar developers can best meet the needs of LMI customers and to spread the word about the benefits of community solar.
Through the Community Renewables program, Rhode Island’s Renewable Energy Fund will provide an incentive to developers in the CRNM program who sign up residential customers, and a larger incentive to developers in the CRNM program who sign up LMI residential customers. Eligibility is based on existing utility customer classifications; developers receive $300 for signing up each standard rate residential electric service customer, and $500 for signing up each customer who qualifies for a low-income electric service rate. OER created a Community Solar Marketplace to connect potential community solar customers to community solar projects actively seeking subscribers.
|36||VT||Vermont||Home Energy Loan||Solar PV, Energy Efficiency||Homeowners, Multifamily Housing, Renters||Reduced Interest Rate||
Efficiency Vermont, a statewide energy efficiency utility, is dedicated to helping Vermont residents manage their energy use and transition to reduce carbon emissions. It manages a program with local credit unions that helps residential property owners to finance their home energy improvement projects. LMI Vermonters that meet income guidelines benefit from a streamlined application for financing as low as zero percent that can cover project costs up to $40,000. Loan terms can run up to 15 years to finance air source heat pumps, solar hot water heaters, advanced wood heating systems, weatherization upgrades, efficiency repairs and more. For the project to be eligible for the loan, households must use an Efficiency Excellence Network (EEN) contractor to be eligible.
More information is available on Efficiency Vermont’s Financing for Homeowners webpage: https://www.efficiencyvermont.com/services/financing/homes.
|37||VT||Vermont||Discounts on Heat Pumps, Heat Pump Water Heaters, and Wood/Pellet Stoves||Thermal||Homeowners||Rebate||
Efficiency Vermont, a statewide energy efficiency utility, offers residents a specific discount for heat pump water heater. Households can receive an incentive when they install a new heat pump, heat pump water heater, or a wood or pellet stoves from the “Qualified Product” list on Efficiency Vermont’s website. Income-eligible Vermonters may qualify for a bonus rebate or even free equipment. Eligibility varies by county. Incentives are subject to change.
Up to date information about income eligibility is available on Efficiency Vermont’s website at https://www.efficiencyvermont.com/services/income-based-assistance/energy-bill-reduction
|38||WA||Washington||Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard||Energy Efficiency, Solar PV||Homeowners, Renters||Grant||
Washington has prioritized ensuring that new LMI housing is efficient and sustainable. The Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard (ESDS), currently in Version 3.0.1, is a green building performance requirement for all affordable housing projects that receive capital funds from the Washington State Housing Trust Fund. The standard seeks to increase energy and water efficiency, promote sustainable living, improve the economics of managing affordable housing, and enhance quality of life for residents. It contains 79 criteria that broadly aim to safeguard health, safety, and the environment. In addition to complying with all mandatory provisions, new construction projects must achieve 50 points from among optional criteria, while rehabilitation projects must achieve 40 points from the optional criteria. Projects can earn up to 15 points by including renewable generation.
More information is available on the Washington Department of Commerce webpage dedicated to ESDS: www.commerce.wa.gov/building-infrastructure/housing/housing-trust-fund/housing-trust-fund-evergreen-sustainable-development/.
|39||NJ||New Jersey||COOL and WARMAdvantage Programs||Thermal||Homeowners, Multifamily Housing||Rebate||The New Jersey Clean Energy Program offers residential incentives for qualifying high efficiency cooling equipment and heat pumps, with an adder for low-income residents. The COOL and WARMAdvantage programs (for cooling equipment and heat pumps, respectively) offer rebates of up to $2000 depending on system efficiency levels. Low-income residents or projects identified as part of an affordable housing development are eligible for an additional $200 per efficiency measure.
More Information is available on the New Jersey Clean Energy Program dedicated webpage for at https://www.njcleanenergy.com/residential/programs/cooladvantage/heat-pumps#COOLAdvantage_rebate_table
|40||NY||New York||NYS Clean Heat – Statewide Heat Pump Program||Thermal||Homeowners||Rebate||Reduced Interest Rate, On-Bill Financing||The New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) offers rebates for both air and ground source heat pumps through the state’s electric utilities. Although incentives vary by utility and per system efficiency, rebates can be up to $2000 per heat pump unit. For low-income residents, NYSERDA offers up to $25,000 in low-interest loans to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements. The primary type of loan offered is through on-bill financing, in which residents pay off the loan as a line item on their utility bill.
More information is available on the NYSERDA program page for Clean Heat, which can be found here: https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/NYS-Clean-Heat
|41||CA||California||Self-Generation Incentive Program – Equity and Equity Resiliency Budgets||Battery Storage||Businesses, Homeowners, Multifamily Housing, Organizations||Rebate||The California Public Utilities Commission established the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) in 2001 to encourage the deployment of distributed generation to reduce electricity demand peaks. Over the ensuing two decades, SGIP evolved into primarily an energy storage incentive for both residential and non-residential customers. In 2017, the CPUC created the SGIP Equity budget, a carve-out of the program’s funds reserved for projects in disadvantaged and low-income communities. In 2019, in the wake of devastating fires and unprecedented utility preventative electricity shutoffs, the CPUC ’s created a new Equity Resilience budget to support projects that provide resiliency benefits to customers or communities facing risks of wildfire in the state.
The SGIP program currently offers elevated rebates under its Equity and Equity Resiliency budgets for installing energy storage projects. Together, the Equity and Equity Resiliency budgets aim to ensure low-income, medically vulnerable, and those at-risk of fire receive incentives for installing energy storage systems. The CPUC set rebate levels to “fully or nearly fully subsidize installation of SGIP storage systems by eligible equity resiliency budget and equity budget customers”—$850/kWh for Equity Budget projects and $1,000/kWh for Equity Resiliency Budget projects.
In 2020, the CPUC authorized ratepayer collections of $166 million annually to fund the SGIP program through 2024. For 2020 through 2024, available SGIP funding is approximately $612 million the Equity Resiliency budget and approximately $84 million for the Equity budget.More information is available on the CPUC website at https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/sgipinfo/.
|42||ME||Maine||Low Income Heat Pump Water Heater Rebate||Heat Pump Water Heater||Homeowners||Rebate||Efficiency Maine’s Low Income Heat Pump Water Heater program will replace inefficient electric resistance water heater at full cost for income qualifying Mainers. Efficiency Maine pays a participating plumber to install a new Heat Pump Water Heater and remove the electric resistance water heater. Program eligibility is only income based, and facility condition requirements apply.
More information is available on the Efficiency Maine website at https://www.efficiencymaine.com/helping-low-income-mainers-reduce-energy-costs/
State Full Name:
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