August 9, 2021

Modeling Inclusive Utility Investments in On-Site Solar

By: Jenna Barron

The ability to access on-site solar is often determined by whether a household can either pay cash upfront or arrange financing for a 20-year investment. Most households in the United States are not able or willing to do either on their own. While solar leases have surged in popularity among those who can qualify, the systematic disqualification of those who don’t has contributed to the clean energy divide. 

To address these barriers, Clean Energy Works, with our partners in the LIFT Solar Everywhere* project is conducting research that will accelerate access to solar for low- and moderate-income (LMI) homeowners and renters by identifying finance and customer models for each regulatory and utility service territory type, addressing both residential rooftop and community solar. 

Clean Energy Works is proud to release a new report for this project entitled Modeling Inclusive Utility Investments in On-Site Solar. The report is a product of collaboration with NextResource Advisors, which also worked on the first report in this series: Applying the PAYS® System to On-Site Solar to Expand Access to All. 

The new report quantifies an open-source financial model for inclusive utility investment in on-site solar to help more analysts explore this option in specific contexts. This model allows users to change inputs to explore a host of possible scenarios and shows the value streams for both utilities and customers in their local economic conditions.

“With this new tool, utility managers and community organizers can better understand the implications of inclusive utility investment programs,” says Holmes Hummel, Executive Director of Clean Energy Works, lead author of the new LIFT Solar Everywhere study. “It also clearly underscores the importance of changing the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) to a direct pay option to make solar accessible to all.”

Clean Energy Works looks forward to continuing its collaboration with partners through the LIFT Solar Everywhere project and engaging leading utilities on their opportunity to accelerate deployment of grid-edge assets in an inclusive way.



* LIFT Solar Everywhere, and Applying the PAYS® System to On-Site Solar to Expand Access to All, is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the Solar Energy Technologies Office Award Number DE-EE0008567.

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