Project Name: Accelerating Low-Income Financing and Transactions for Solar Access Everywhere (LIFT)
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Program (SETO FY2018)
SETO Research Area: Soft Costs
Location: Washington, DC
SETO Award Amount: $1,499,988
Awardee Cost Share: $385,365
Principal Investigator: Michelle Moore

-- Award and cost share amounts are subject to change pending negotiations --

As solar energy deployment continues to rapidly grow, more states and utility service territories are offering solar electricity to customers. New business models and financing vehicles introduce flexible ways to create a wider pool of potential subscribers. This project is developing a Low-Income Financing and Transactions for Solar Access Everywhere (LIFT) toolkit that encompasses data obtained from solar project finance models and customer experience models to better understand their performance as well as customer motivation and satisfaction. This work aims to accelerate solar access to low- and moderate-income (LMI) households by sharing the most successful design models that are customer centered, cost-effective, and financially sustainable with energy providers and project developers.

APPROACH

This project team is gathering and analyzing data from three LMI finance models and two customer experience models across three utility service territories. The data will inform the design principles used to create the toolkit, which will assess the financial impact of each solar project on LMI subscriber communities. The LIFT toolkit will serve as a resource guide to help improve performance outcomes and finance models for low-income solar projects.

INNOVATION

This research will provide information on customer needs and benefits as well as cost-effective financial models, enabling the industry to use these findings to impact LMI project design and implementation. Understanding the various challenges faced by different customers and creating optimal solutions to overcome these hurdles can serve to accelerate LMI household access to solar energy.