Low-Income Barriers Study, Part A: Overcoming Barriers to Energy Efficiency and Renewables for Low-income customers and Small Business Contracting Opportunities in Disadvantaged Communities is a study mandated by Senate Bill 350 that explores the barriers to and opportunities for expanding low-income customers’ access to energy efficiency, weatherization, and renewable energy investments. It also examines barriers and opportunities related to contracting with small businesses located in disadvantaged communities. This study provides recommendations intended to have a transformative effect on access to clean energy investments for low-income customers and local small businesses in disadvantaged communities.
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 (Senate Bill 350, De León, Chapter 547, Statutes of 2015) on October 7, 2015. The bill establishes new energy efficiency and renewable electricity targets for 2030 to support California’s long-term climate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The statute also finds that there is insufficient understanding of the barriers for low-income and disadvantaged communities to access energy efficiency investments, weatherization, solar photovoltaic energy generation and other forms of renewable generation, and contracting opportunities for small businesses in disadvantaged communities. For this reason, SB 350 directs the Energy Commission to conduct a study on the following topics:
- Barriers for low-income customers to energy efficiency and weatherization investments, including those in disadvantaged communities, as well as recommendations on how to increase access to energy efficiency and weatherization investments to low-income customers.
- Barriers to and opportunities for solar photovoltaic energy generation, as well as barriers to and opportunities for access to other renewable energy by lowincome customers.
- Barriers to contracting opportunities for local small businesses in disadvantaged communities.
- Barriers for low-income customers to zero-emission and near zero-emission transportation options, including those in disadvantaged communities, as well as recommendations on how to increase access to zero-emission and near-zero emission transportation options to low-income customers, including those in disadvantaged communities.