The rapid decline of solar panel costs in recent years has ushered in a solar boom that has not spread uniformly across the spectrum of U.S. household incomes. Despite being more vulnerable to energy costs, lower income Americans have lagged behind more affluent households in adopting solar and realizing its numerous benefits. To better understand and address this inequity, the GW Solar Institute’s 2014 Solar Symposium convened policymakers, industry and business leaders, researchers, and students from across the country for the first national discussion to focus on the barriers to lower income solar deployment and potential solutions to overcome them.
The authors first summarize the emerging themes and recommendations from the 2014 Solar Symposium and then elaborate on them further for the benefit of federal, state, and local policymakers considering ways to address lower income solar barriers. The authors specify several policy recommendations to serve as a starting point for addressing the solar income gap.