In the new “Solar with Justice” report, under-resourced communities confront inequalities in solar development. The research puts a spotlight on how solar projects can be deployed in communities to bring economic benefits to families with low and moderate incomes through government, philanthropic and frontline organizational action.
The report takes an evaluative look at policies and projects across the country, including 11 case studies, and draws out lessons learned to guide the implementation of solar in under-resourced communities to ensure long-term economic, equity and public health benefits. Solar energy can reduce electricity costs and attract further investments, yet disadvantaged communities chronically lack access to the booming solar economy. Financing challenges, limited policy vehicles to support project development, and other obstacles put it out of reach of many working families.
The Solar with Justice: Strategies for Powering Up Under-Resourced Communities and Growing an Inclusive Solar Marketreport – authored by a coalition of clean energy and environmental justice advocates, as well as academic and foundation partners – can be accessed at: https://cesa.org/resource-library/resource/solar-with-justice.
The report offers detailed recommendations for community organizations, government entities, foundations, and the solar industry on practical approaches to place equity at the center of solar development. The case studies of model projects gathered from around the country also illustrate concrete actionable lessons learned that can be applied to solar development on a wider scale.
The report looks at solar projects across the U.S. and shares detailed insights from experts, including recommendations to:
- Minimize financial risks for low and moderate income (LMI) households: These households need guaranteed savings because they often do not have a cushion to withstand financial setbacks.
- Create partnerships with trusted community organizations: Local groups can best assess ways to meet community needs and actively engage.
- Increase financing options: Broad, effective funding is crucial to building out solar economies in underserved communities that lack financial resources.
- Bolster consumer protections: Leaders must provide education to ensure that LMI customers experience tangible benefits from solar.
The Solar with Justice report gathered perspectives from more than 90 experts across industry. It is the first of its kind to assemble a diverse team to explore solar in under-resourced communities, focusing on the voices and insights from community organization leaders across the U.S., and presenting concrete, actionable recommendations.
The report was authored by a diverse project team that included the Clean Energy States Alliance, Jackson State University Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Partnership for Southern Equity, PaulosAnalysis, University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and The Solutions Project.
Free public webinars will highlight the report’s findings and recommendations. For more information or to register, see below.
- On Thursday, January 16th, 1-2pm ET, CESA is hosting a webinar titled Solar with Justice: Recommendations for Community Organizations. Members of the Solar with Justice report’s team of authors will describe model solar programs and projects led by community organizations and offer recommendations for actions that different community organizations can take to ensure solar empowers under-resourced communities and provides tangible financial and wealth-building benefits. For more information and to register, click here.
- On Wednesday January 29th, 1-2pm ET, CESA is hosting a webinar titled Solar with Justice: Recommendations for State Governments. On the webinar, members of the Solar with Justice report’s team of authors will describe model state LMI solar programs case studies and discuss actions state governments can take on this topic. For more information and to register, click here.
Read the full report, and a Spanish version of the report’s executive summary, at: https://cesa.org/resource-library/resource/solar-with-justice.