Lower electric bills are the big attraction for financially stressed families
In the predominantly African-American neighborhood of Broadway Heights in San Diego, nearly half of the 192 homes have rooftop solar panels. Neighbor after neighbor talks about what they could now afford. They were paying $200 and $300 a month in electric bills. Now they’re paying zero to $50.
“Now I can get my air conditioner!” said Thresia Route, 62, an information technology administrator.
In Southern Homes and Gardens, an affordable townhouse cooperative in predominantly African-American Southeast Washington, 55 of 90 residences have rooftop solar panels. On-site manager Telana Felder calls solar “my best friend” to escape her former monthly bills of $150 to $200.
“Last month the bill was $4, then this month it was $14,” Felder said. “It was so low I said something was wrong, so I called. They said it was because I had credits from the solar.”
These are among the thousands of moderate- to low-income families and fixed-income retired seniors who are the vanguard in communities of color that are now enjoying solar power. Under a wide variety of state and federal policies and funding mechanisms, and under both nonprofit and for-profit business models, such families are changing the face of renewable energy, broadening the diversity of solar customers with respect to race and income.
Read more here.