Environmentally Impacted Communities Benefit From Solar

A new state program increases access to solar for more Southern California Edison customers.
Oct 22, 2019 4:30 PM ET

by Julia Roether

The ability to install rooftop solar systems and use clean, solar energy is often out of reach for many Southern Californian homeowners. This is especially true in communities prone to harmful health effects from air and other environmental pollution.

Thanks to a new state program, more Southern California Edison homeowners in these environmentally impacted communities can now install rooftop solar systems. The Disadvantaged Communities – Single-Family Solar Homes Program will help income-qualified homeowners overcome the lack of capital or credit needed for solar rooftop installation.

“Making solar system installation easier for SCE’s income-qualified customers can make a big difference in many of the communities we serve,” said Jessica Lim, SCE’s principal manager of Product Management. “Through the DAC-SASH program, the entire community benefits. Homeowners have the potential to save money on their electric bill and the communities they live in will have expanded employment opportunities and improved environmental health benefits.”

Financial incentives offered by the program remove the need to finance a solar installation. To maximize the incentive and ensure the solar system is the right size for the house, homeowners will also be provided with energy-efficiency training. This way they can take simple steps to reduce their energy use before they go solar.

To qualify for the program, homeowners must meet certain criteria. They must be eligible for the California Alternate Rates for Energy or the Family Electric Rate Assistance programs. And, they must live in an environmentally impacted community that the state identifies as being in the top 25% using CalEnviroScreen. Interested homeowners can apply to participate in the program though the nonprofit.

Another key component of the program, job training, provides lasting impact and benefits to entire communities. Job trainees in these communities learn a variety of skills and help with actual solar installations from start to finish. A skilled solar workforce is also needed to help California meet its clean energy goals.

Earlier this year, the state launched another program, Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing, focused on apartment renters. With this program, SCE apartment owners in environmentally impacted neighborhoods can receive incentives to help install new solar systems. In turn, tenants living in those buildings reap the rewards of clean, affordable solar energy. Tenants and building owners receive credits on their utility bills from the electricity generated by the solar panels.

Both programs are funded through cap-and-trade allowance revenues. If such funds are exhausted, they are then funded through public purpose program funds.

For more information on how you can benefit from clean solar energy, visit SCE’s website.