Solar for All seeks to spread the benefits of solar

By Ben Delman on November 3, 2016

The City Council passed a significant increase to the District’s renewable portfolio standard this summer. This increase commits the District to getting half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2032. The legislation took a two-pronged approach to growing solar in the District. The first part grows solar by maintaining prices for renewable energy credits to encourage more people to go solar. This will help homeowners pay off their solar systems more quickly. The second part seeks ensure that all District residents will benefit from solar’s growth. This is the goal of the District’s “Solar for All” effort.

Solar for All seeks to reduce electricity bills by 50% for the city’s low-income households by using solar energy. In order to achieve these cost savings, Solar for All aims to provide power from solar energy to 100,000 low income households by 2032. This means adding solar to roughly six thousand homes each year.

Over the last few months, the Department of Energy and Environment has convened meetings to address what it will take to get a program of this magnitude up and running. This bold program has brought together a wide-cross section of people passionate about making solar energy accessible and scalable.

If done well, Solar for All could be a model for cities across the country interested in using the power of the sun as a clean energy transition tool. DC SUN has been deeply involved in this process. The next step for the Solar For All program is to combine all the research and recommendations from the last few months to begin the launch of a scalable, and economically viable renewable energy program.

Developing good plans will be only part of making Solar for All a success in the District. Success will require committed pressure from the District’s community of solar supporters on the city’s elected and appointed officials to implement the steps need to achieve Solar for All’s ambitious goals. Our hard work has made D.C. one of the best cities in the country for solar. Now we have the opportunity to make sure it is one of the best solar cities for everyone. To stay informed about Solar for All and other solar-related policies, sign up for our listserv and newsletter.