Unlocking Solar for Low-and Moderate-Income Residents: A Matrix of Financing Options by Resident, Provider, and Housing Type

Jeffrey J. Cook, Lori Bird | National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Historically, the low-and moderate-income (LMI) market has been underserved by solar photovoltaics (PV), in part because of the unique barriers to participation in the PV market that LMI residents face. In addition to other barriers, they often rent, have lower credit scores, and have limited funds to make up-front investments in PV. Some states have adopted innovative financing programs to provide LMI residents with access to PV, but the applicability and effectiveness of financing strategies can vary, depending on the type of housing and the customer’s homeownership status. The intent of this report is to identify the most promising strategies state policymakers might consider using to finance PV for LMI customers across three housing types: single family, multi-family, and manufactured housing.

This report examines 13 financing options that could be used to serve LMI residents and each has different impacts that are related to state administration and LMI market deployment. Policymakers will need to weigh these and other potential impacts when designing programs to serve the LMI market.

This report was developed for a project, led by the Clean Energy States Alliance and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office, to assist five states plus the District of Columbia to develop and implement strategies for increasing access of solar PV among LMI residents.

Associated Project(s):