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What should a great low income solar program look like?

What should a great low income solar program look like?

In short: If you are concerned about energy independence, clean power, and equity, programs targeting poorer households to make the switch to solar are a must. We outline best practices for low income solar programs from our review of 9 states who are leading the way. Some states and cities are starting to display leadership on strong affordable housing programs which tie energy efficiency upgrades and solar together to provide needed relief to low income households. Their efforts help increase home values, decrease reliance on energy assistance programs over time,...
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Community Solar: What it is and how it works

Community Solar: What it is and how it works

In Short: Community solar installations, also sometimes called solar gardens or solar farms, are medium to large-scale solar installations that are used to generate electricity for multiple shareholders. If you don’t have a suitable roof for solar, exploring your options with community solar might be a great way to make your life solar powered! Individuals and businesses can either purchase a “share” of a community solar garden or “subscribe” to a community solar membership. Either way, their purchase or subscription represents a portion of the solar energy generating potential of...
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Home Solar Scams and Red Flags

Home Solar Scams and Red Flags

In short: Scammers, fraudsters, and jerks peddling misleading information are everywhere. Unfortunately, they are also in the solar industry. We’ll make sure you can see the red flags, and empower you to make smart decisions about solar for your home. Before the re-authorization and expansion of the solar investment tax credit in 2008, a small number of dedicated, caring solar companies installed solar panels on homes and businesses. After 2008, the solar industry exploded with new companies. Unfortunately, some of those companies engage in shady business practices, and consumers need...
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Solar Panels for Mobile Homes and RVs

Solar Panels for Mobile Homes and RVs

In short: Are solar panels for mobile homes and RVs a good idea? In both cases, the answer is “yes, but...” It’s a bit tricky, and there are rules and best practices to follow. First, you should try to reduce your electricity usage, then make sure you install the right amount of solar in the right place. Can you install solar panels on a mobile home? We’ll start with the bad news. Most mobile and manufactured homes don’t have the necessary roof and joint strength to support the weight of...
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You can rent Tesla solar panels for $50 a month. Is that a good deal?

You can rent Tesla solar panels for $50 a month. Is that a good deal?

In short: On August 18th, 2019, Elon Musk announced the relaunch of Tesla Solar via Twitter. The "new" sales model offers homeowners the opportunity to install Tesla solar panels in three standard system sizes, with pricing based on their home state.Tesla will now rent solar panels in certain areas of 6 states, with monthly rental agreements priced as low as $50/month, with annual savings estimated to be between $20 and $650, depending on your state. But there are some issues with certain parts of Tesla's contract that might make some...
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Don’t Pass on Passive Solar Heating

Don’t Pass on Passive Solar Heating

In short: Passive solar heating is a holistic, “natural” way to heat and cool your home using solar energy without investing in panels or machines. Using good old windows, flooring, and some clever thermodynamic trickery, you can capture sunlight to heat your home, and even "store" it using your home’s surfaces so you can use it later when the temperature decreases. This method can decrease your energy usage dramatically. Combining these techniques with photovoltaic solar panels can eliminate your power bill for less! What is passive solar heating? We’re talking...
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Affordable Solar Power in New York in 2019

Affordable Solar Power in New York in 2019

Affordable Solar Program As part of its solar incentives program, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) established the Megawatt Block Incentive (MW Block), a rebate program which includes a carve out for residential households. The rebate is based upon the amount of solar installed, location, and how much solar capacity has already been installed by the program. At the beginning of the program, rebates were set at $1,000 per kW. However, with most of the available open capacity already claimed, the rebates have fallen to between...
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A 2019 Update to Affordable Solar in Hawaii

A 2019 Update to Affordable Solar in Hawaii

Green Energy Market Securitization On-Bill Repayment Program (GEMS) Overview Administered by the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority (HGIA) in partnership with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the Green Energy Market Securitization On-Bill Repayment Program (GEMS) is an excellent example of how innovation can overcome issues facing low income solar programs. Though not specifically targeted to low income households, GEMS is setup in a fashion meant to overcome various financing issues faced by many low income individuals. GEMS was originally launched in 2014 with the goal of providing low interest loans...
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Affordable Solar Power in Illinois: A 2019 Update

Affordable Solar Power in Illinois: A 2019 Update

Solar For All Program (ILSFA) Overview Started just this year, Illinois’ Solar For All Program (ILSFA) is a system which incentivizes installers to target lower income households. In 2014, Illinois set a renewable energy target of 25% by 2025, of which 1.5% must come from solar. As part of this initiative, the state created a Renewable Energy Credit (REC) market overseen by the Illinois Power Agency. As part of the current Illinois REC system, utilities pay the state fees for failing to meet mandated targets for renewable energy use, which...
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Affordable Solar in Washington, DC: What’s happening in 2019

Affordable Solar in Washington, DC: What’s happening in 2019

The Capital's Solar For All Program First established in 2016, Washington D.C.’s Solar For All Program is a multifaceted set of programs with the goal of bringing the benefits of solar to 100,000 low- and moderate-income households by the year 2032. While a significant portion of the program is focused on community solar programs, segments do target single family residences as well. The program is managed by the D.C. Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU), an independent non-profit utility, and overseen by the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE). The DCSEU...
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Last modified: January 29, 2019

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