RESOURCE LIBRARY – Project Descriptions – Renewable Energy Programs2020-10-22T18:29:38+00:00

APPRISE Projects

Renewable Energy Programs

APPRISE conducted an evaluation of California’s Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes and Multi-Family Affordable Solar Homes programs. The programs provide solar incentives to customers of three investor-owned utilities in California. The programs aim to stimulate the adoption of solar power in affordable housing, improve the quality of affordable housing, increase energy affordability for low-income households, and increase awareness and knowledge of the benefits of solar power among affordable housing occupants and developers. As a subcontractor in this research, APPRISE conducted interviews with the program administrators and conducted surveys with participating homeowners, participating building managers, and nonparticipating building managers.

APPRISE conducted a comprehensive review of the District of Columbia’s LIHEAP benefit determination procedures and researched strategies for integrating solar benefits with its LIHEAP program. The study included assessing energy burden among LIHEAP recipients using energy bill data collected for the LIHEAP Performance Measures, conducting pilot research on energy burden for LIHEAP recipients with heating costs included in their rent, and developing an alternative benefit structure that accounts for energy burden while optimizing outcomes across low-income programs offered in the District of Columbia.

In 2016, the Renewable Portfolio Standard Expansion Act established the District of Columbia’s Solar for All Program to provide the benefits of solar electricity to 100,000 low-income households, and to reduce their electric bills by 50 percent. The program has funded grantees with the goal of testing strategies to expand solar energy, providing benefits to low-income residents, developing solutions to program challenges, and identifying strategies for long-term program development. These projects take a variety of approaches to generating solar and for providing benefits to low-income households.

  • Community Solar Subscriptions: Grantees receive funding to install solar systems on a plot of land. Low-income households subscribe at no cost to receive a share of the electricity generated through virtual net metering credits.
  • Direct Solar Installations: Grantees install solar panels on rooftops of low-income households. Panels are sized to produce 50 percent of the household’s electricity at no cost to them. Low-income households receive direct net metering credits to reduce their electric bill.
  • Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC): Grantees can sell SRECs on the open market for every megawatt-hour of electricity generated from solar energy and use those revenues to pay benefits to low-income households.
  • Combined Benefits: Through DOEE’s Solar for All Innovation and Expansion Grants, some grantees use more than one method to issue benefits to low-income participants.

APPRISE analyzed the LIHEAP and Solar for All programs to assess opportunities and challenges for coordinating LIHEAP and Solar for All benefits to maximize client outcomes and optimize efficiency in the delivery of services. Based on the findings from that analysis, APPRISE developed a number of options for consideration.

APPRISE is conducting an evaluation of the Illinois Solar for All Program which will bring photovoltaic power to low-income and environmental justice communities throughout Illinois and create a long-term, low-income solar marketplace.

The ILSFA Program has four key components.

  • Low-Income Distributed Generation: Single- and multi-family residential properties occupied by low-income households can receive incentives for new solar generation systems.
  • Low-Income Community Solar: Low-income owners and renters can buy or lease a share of the solar system and receive credits on their utility bills for the energy produced by their share of the system.
  • Incentives for Non-Profits and Public Facilities: Non-profit organizations and public entities within environmental justice communities or low-income communities can receive incentives for new solar generation systems.
  • Low-Income Community Solar Pilot Projects: Projects with community partnerships and ownership will be awarded based on a competitive procurement approach.

The evaluation will include analysis of community outreach, system cost and production, environmental and economic benefits, impacts on participants’ energy costs and burden, job training, and system reliability.

APPRISE designed and implemented a survey to assist a utility considering implementation of a solar financing program and potential on-bill financing methods.  A random sample of general residential customers and a random sample of customers who had previously expressed interest in solar photovoltaic panels were included. The survey assessed customers’ interest in installing solar panels and their preference among various financing options.  While about half of the general sample and over 90 percent of the solar interest sample had considered installing solar, they were most likely to report that they had not moved forward because of the cost.  A majority of the general sample and more than three quarters of the solar interest sample said that they would consider on-bill financing for a system if it was offered by the utility.

NYSERDA’s NY-Sun Solar Program provides incentives and funding to support solar photovoltaic projects throughout New York State.  One major goal of NY-Sun is to provide solar benefits to low- and moderate-income (LMI) households.  To understand the NY-Sun solar adopter population and identify future LMI targeting opportunities, NYSERDA has contracted with APPRISE to conduct an analysis using public data, program data, and survey data.  First, APPRISE will estimate the characteristics of NY State households and the characteristics of solar adopters, including the portion who are LMI by detailed geographic area.  Second, APPRISE will conduct an online survey with a sample of subscribers to collect information to verify their characteristics and assess program satisfaction.  Third, APPRISE will develop a methodology and tools to assist NYSERDA in identifying LMI households and regions as part of program outreach and eligibility verification.

APPRISE designed and implemented a survey to assist a utility considering implementation of a solar financing program and potential on-bill financing methods.  A random sample of general residential customers and a random sample of customers who had previously expressed interest in solar photovoltaic panels were included. The survey assessed customers’ interest in installing solar panels and their preference among various financing options.  While about half of the general sample and over 90 percent of the solar interest sample had considered installing solar, they were most likely to report that they had not moved forward because of the cost.  A majority of the general sample and more than three quarters of the solar interest sample said that they would consider on-bill financing for a system if it was offered by the utility.