Getting solar power to work for the low and moderate income families of the United States is probably some of the most challenging project finance work in the industry. And it should be done – not only because it’s the right thing to do in a civilized society, but because in a society where 43% of households are defined as low to moderate income and they represent 42% of solar potential, it is smart business.
Sunrun has made a 100 MW commitment to this market in California, to be deployed by 2028.
Sunrun’s plans mesh with state policy. The California Public Utilities Commission’s Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) program to date has deployed 39 MW of solar power in affordable multi-family dwellings. The successor program, Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (SOMAH), has a 2030 goal of installing 300 MW of solar power. Sunrun’s commitment aims to satisfy one-third of SOMAH’s goal.
BREAKING: Sunrun to install 100 MW of #solar on affordable housing in #California, kickstarting a major expansion of Sunrun's low and moderate-income solar initiatives. Read the release at: https://t.co/VDhnEs915F#GCAS2018 #ClimateChange #StepUp2018 #RenewableEnergy #CleanEnergy pic.twitter.com/0ewDOXyCVP
— Sunrun Solar (@Sunrun) September 11, 2018
Sunrun notes that this 100 MW will directly benefit at least 50,000 families, an average of 2 kW per household. That system sizing lines up closely with the California solar power mandate system requirements, meaning its possible these systems will be built at time of new home construction. It was also noted that the installations will be done through building owners at no cost to renters.
Under the SOMAH program, affordable multi-family housing areas are defined as where 80% of tenants fall below 60% of the area median income.
The NREL report referenced in the opening paragraph, Rooftop Solar Technical Potential for Low-to-Moderate Income Households in the United States, suggests a generation potential of 1,000 terawatts per year from all residential rooftops in the United states. This would meet 75% of this segment’s electricity needs.
Note in the below map from the report the rooftop potential for this market in California.