In 2009, GRID Alternatives led the implementation of the nation’s first low-income solar incentive program for single-family homeowners under the California Solar Initiative, bringing 16MW of solar to over 5,200 households in the program’s initial 7-year run, while providing 13,000 individuals with hands-on solar installation experience. The success of the program led to its renewal in 2013, and in 2015 to funding for a parallel program through the California Department of Community Services and Development’s Low-Income Weatherization Program, which GRID Alternatives helped administer through June 2018. Both of these programs serve as a model for state programs nationally, and GRID is currently working with stakeholders to build out similar programs in Washington D.C. and Illinois.
In 2019, GRID was named administrator of California’s Disadvantaged Communities - Single-family Solar Homes (DAC-SASH) program, which will provide $8.5 million in incentives annually through 2030 to reduce the cost of going solar for qualifying households, with a focus on communities most impacted by high energy costs. The program will also integrate job training opportunities into every project, creating ladders of opportunity for individuals from all backgrounds to access well-paid jobs in California’s solar industry, and ensuring lasting community benefit.
In addition, GRID is supporting utilities across California in designing innovative energy storage programs that serve low-income customers; helping municipal utilities, rural electric cooperatives and CCAs design community solar and other low-income solar programs; and partnering with cities to increase access to solar for their energy-burdened residents.
Through thoughtful program design, GRID helps ensure that these programs maximize benefits to low-income households, integrate with energy efficiency and other energy programs, create valuable job training and workforce development opportunities, and incorporate consumer protection measures.