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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The impact of policies and business models on income equity in rooftop solar adoption

  • Author(s): O’Shaughnessy, E
  • Barbose, G
  • Wiser, R
  • Forrester, S
  • Darghouth, N
  • et al.

© 2020, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited. Low- and moderate-income (LMI) households are less likely to adopt rooftop solar photovoltaics (PVs) than higher-income households in the United States. As the existing literature has shown, this dynamic can decelerate rooftop PV deployment and has potential energy justice implications, in light of the cost-shifting between PV and non-PV households that can occur under typical rate structures and incentive programmes. Here we show that some state policy interventions and business models have expanded PV adoption among LMI households. We find evidence that LMI-specific financial incentives, PV leasing and property-assessed financing have increased the diffusion of PV adoption among LMI households in existing markets and have driven more installations into previously underserved low-income communities. By shifting deployment patterns, we posit that these interventions could catalyse peer effects to increase PV adoption in low-income communities even among households that do not directly benefit from the interventions.

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