In the U.S., nearly 40 percent of households live in rental housing, which includes single family, multi-unit and other structures. Of those households, more than 60 percent live in multifamily housing. Given the large percentage of renters nationwide, policymakers need to ensure that policies and programs allow renters to take advantage of the benefits of solar and other applicable clean energy technologies, such as energy storage and energy efficiency.
Shared solar programs can enable multiple customers, including renters in multifamily housing, to share the economic benefits of a single solar power system and to receive credits on their utility bills for the electricity generated by that common system. There are 14 active state shared solar programs spread across 11 states and Washington, D.C., and there are five other state programs that are in the process of being implemented.4 Beyond these state programs, there are dozens of utility programs across the country – both active and under development – that are designed to reach more customers with shared solar projects. As states and utilities begin to add new programs, expanding solar access for all customers, regardless of housing type or income level, must be a priority consideration.
This document outlines two potential pathways to enable greater solar access for renters and multifamily residents, including LMI customers and communities:
(1) on-site shared solar, and (2) off-site (i.e., remotely located) shared solar.