Low-Income Renewable Energy Programs: A Survey of State Clean Energy Funds
This survey reviews efforts by CESA member clean energy funds to promote the use of renewable energy technologies in low-income residential buildings or communities. Only programs specifically targeting low-income applications are covered. Funds providing support to low-income households for other purposes (e.g., weatherization programs) fall outside the scope of this survey, as do programs offered by non-CESA member funds. To date, only the California Energy Commission has promoted the use of renewable energy technologies on low-income homes through an ongoing program of specifically targeted incentives. However, several other funds have been active as well. The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative recently launched a Renewables & Low Income Collaborative with low income community stakeholders to formally explore and pursue opportunities in this area. The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund also plans to target a future component of a PV buy-down program directly at low-income households. Others, including the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, the New Jersey Clean Energy Program, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the Energy Trust of Oregon, two Pennsylvania funds (the Sustainable Development Fund and the Sustainable Energy Fund of Central Eastern Pennsylvania), and Wisconsin Focus on Energy have also provided support for the use of renewable energy in specific low income projects, despite not having distinct programs targeted to this purpose. The efforts of these funds are summarized below.