New solar incentives expand access for income-qualified customers
Installing rooftop solar is a big investment. Homeowners with low or moderate incomes often benefit the most from generating their own clean energy, but the upfront costs of installing solar panels can be a dealbreaker.
In late 2019, Energy Trust introduced the Solar Within Reach offer, which provides increased incentives—up to 50% of the total average project cost—to homeowners with low- and moderate-incomes who install solar panels. Since then, Energy Trust has helped 86 customers go solar with more than $700,000 in incentives.
Judy Fritzon used the offer to install solar panels on her home in Corvallis: “I’ve always believed in solar energy because I’m concerned about climate change and sustainability, but I couldn’t afford it before. I’m so happy I was able to power my home through Solar Within Reach. My energy bills have gone way down.”
“We didn’t create this offer alone,” said Matt Getchell, senior project manager at Energy Trust. “To make solar energy more affordable and accessible, we built relationships with community-based organizations across the state and hosted a series of workshops to solicit ideas and feedback.”
Later in 2020, Energy Trust launched another new offer that provides higher incentives for installing solar panels to tribes, affordable multifamily properties and nonprofit organizations working with underserved communities. Generating their own solar energy is a great way to help these organizations cut down on energy use and put the cost savings toward serving the community while helping build awareness of renewable energy.
Offers like this show what’s possible through listening to community members and designing programs to meet their needs.