Expanding Solar Access to Underserved Communities Through SolSmart

| By Val Stori, Dreek Morgan, and Maya Chilcote

Authored by staff at the Great Plains Institute, a SolSmart program partner, this report examines two case studies of ways in which major U.S. cities—Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis, Minnesota—have worked to ensure that all residents benefit from solar energy installations. Both cities demonstrate how local governments can simultaneously pursue economic development and equitable solar deployment. In addition, the cities serve as replicable examples for centering equity into solar and other clean energy initiatives.

Washington, D.C.’s Solar Works D.C. program offers district residents the opportunity to participate in a solar installation job training program that provides rooftop solar to low-income households at no cost. In Minneapolis, the City’s Green Cost Share program offers grants for energy efficiency, solar, and other air pollution reduction projects to property owners across the city, particularly in neighborhoods overburdened with environmental injustice, known as Green Zones. The lessons learned from Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis demonstrate how solar equity programs could be developed with deep community engagement, specifically through partnerships with community-based organizations (CBOs), underserved residents, and grassroots organizations. Read more by downloading the PDF.

Report written by Great Plains Institute staff including Val Stori, Senior Program Manager, Renewable Energy; Dreek Morgan, Program Associate, Renewable Energy; and Maya Chilcote, Energy Transitions Intern, Renewable Energy.