Topic: Economic Opportunity

Economic Opportunity Articles

Three Strategies for Low-Income Solar Programs

The phrase ‘low-income’ rarely appears in solar energy press coverage in the United States. But some enterprising organizations have set their sights on expanding the market for residential solar photovoltaics to include low-to-moderate-income communities. Three approaches – group discount programs, affordable leases, and community solar installations – are making solar power available to these communities in some states.

California Decision May Catalyze Energy Efficiency Financing

A new market-shaping decision took place at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Sept. 19. To increase the state's reliance on private capital for energy efficiency financing, the CPUC allocated $65.9 million for a suite of financing pilot programs for the state’s investor-owned utilities. California’s multipronged approach could lead to original solutions that other states might adopt.

Bank of America’s Energy Efficiency Finance Program Rewards Innovators

The Bank of America Energy Efficiency Finance Program has provided low-interest loans and grants to community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to increase access to energy efficiency retrofits in low- to moderate-income communities. The program was launched in 2011. Bank of America is issuing loans to the CDFIs at an interest rate of 1 percent over 10 years with a total loan amount of $50 million. The program is also providing $5 million in special grants for a total investment of $55 million. The grants will help support the CDFIs' green capacity building, free energy audits, staffing, training, reserves and marketing....

On-Bill Repayment Shows Great Promise, But Significant Challenges Remain

On-bill repayment has received a great deal of attention during the last few years as a potential approach to expanding the reach of energy efficiency financing in the residential and commercial sectors. With on-bill repayment, utilities or third-party lenders cover the upfront cost of energy efficiency retrofits and customers pay back the loans through their utility bills.