By Marriele Mango and Abbe Ramanan, Clean Energy Group
Solar+storage is more and more being explored by low-income service suppliers, reminiscent of reasonably priced housing builders, neighborhood establishments, and municipal amenities, to enhance resilience within the occasion of an outage and scale back vitality prices. Despite a rise within the incidence and period of energy outages as a result of excessive climate and local weather change, penetration of photo voltaic+storage in these markets nonetheless stays low.
To achieve extra perception into what limitations are stopping higher implementation of photo voltaic+storage in under-served communities, Clean Energy Group (CEG) carried out a survey of 60 municipalities, neighborhood organizations, reasonably priced housing builders, and technical service suppliers working in low-income communities. CEG overviews these survey outcomes and gives suggestions to beat limitations to photo voltaic+storage growth within the current report, Overcoming Barriers to Solar+Storage in Critical Facilities Serving Low-Income Communities: A Survey of Service Providers. CEG launched a earlier report, Overcoming Barriers to Solar and Storage in Affordable Housing, that explores the outcomes of this survey that pertained particularly to reasonably priced housing builders.
On-the-Ground Realities of Solar+Storage Development
CEG spoke with organizations from reasonably priced housing, emergency providers, and neighborhood providers to dig deeper into their expertise creating photo voltaic+storage. The following are key takeaways from these conversations.
Energy Resilience vs Energy Saving: Many reasonably priced housing builders indicated of their survey responses that vitality invoice financial savings are simply as, if no more, of a motivation for pursuing photo voltaic+storage as vitality resilience. Balancing these two motivations might be tough for reasonably priced housing builders, who should justify the financial case for photo voltaic+storage whereas weighing the wants of a bigger portfolio of properties. For Herb Stevens, CEO of New Partners Community Solar, it was important for the Maycroft Resiliency Center photo voltaic+storage undertaking to learn reasonably priced housing residents each by resilience and lowered utility prices:
“This undertaking makes a connection for the residents of the Maycroft flats between the photo voltaic on the roof, the batteries within the basement, and the photo voltaic community run by New Partners on different rooftops. Only due to this connection can we scale back the vitality burden for 66 households on the Maycroft. Plus, the resilience middle permits them to remain secure, assist one another, and keep linked to the very important providers they want throughout an electrical outage.”
Regulatory Support: For reasonably priced housing builders already working on skinny margins, a supportive regulatory atmosphere could make or break a photo voltaic+storage undertaking. This is made much more tough when making an attempt to make sure direct financial profit to reasonably priced housing residents.
Herb emphasised sturdy regulatory atmosphere was important to the success of their undertaking. In Washington, D.C., builders profit from a sturdy neighborhood photo voltaic legislation that enables clients to subscribe to a photo voltaic array no matter in the event that they personal the property on which the photo voltaic array is put in. This mannequin allowed for the Maycroft undertaking to financially profit a number of low-income clients, no matter geography, whereas additionally offering resilience by battery storage to residents of a single reasonably priced housing neighborhood. Unfortunately, solely 20 states permit for neighborhood photo voltaic fashions just like D.C.’s.
Stevens summarized their perspective on neighborhood photo voltaic paired with battery storage:
“The photo voltaic panels may also help with resiliency. The batteries may also help with resiliency. But provided that the photo voltaic panels and the batteries are linked to the residents who want them.”
Critical and Community Service Providers
Critical and neighborhood providers suppliers indicated vitality resilience as a number one motivation for undertaking growth. Both additionally emphasised battery storage consciousness and funding as main limitations to…