California considered a successful model of delivering solar PV to low- and moderate-income markets

Scott Sarem with his son Alex Sarem at the White House Solar Finance Summit.

Scott Sarem with his son Alex Sarem at the White House Solar Finance Summit.

I was thrilled to go back for my fourth trip to Washington and third to the White House on November 1, 2016, as an invited expert on expanding solar access for low- and moderate-income Americans.

Since President Obama’s original Climate Action Plan was announced in 2013, the White House and Department of Energy have done an outstanding job of accelerating the transition to our renewable energy future. Everyday Energy is proud to have been a part of that, starting with a meeting Chris (Taylor, co-founder and COO) and I had with HUD and Department of Energy officials. The case studies of Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (“MASH”) projects using virtual net metering helped the Obama Administration craft the portion of its Climate Action initiative relating to promoting access to solar for multifamily affordable housing owners and tenants. We’ve continued that work as part of the National Community Solar Partnership, which led to my first invitation to the White House.

My last trip, one year ago, focused on technical aspects of getting the benefits of solar directly to low-income multifamily residents’ households. This time, we were asked to meet img_2053with community banking leaders to discuss how to get it financed.

The Department of Energy’s Sunshot team convened with community development finance institutions and other bankers to discuss what works when it comes to financing solar PV in multifamily affordable housing. Representatives from the Department of the Treasury, the Comptroller of the Currency and the Securities and Exchange Commission were on hand, along with yours truly, to assure the assembly that LMI solar financing is legitimate, sound and can make good business sense.

The message I received loud and clear was that California is being looked at as a successful model of delivering financeable solar PV to low- and moderate-income markets at scale.  One of the primary reasons is the success of the MASH program.   MASH delivers rebates and a way to deploy solar on multifamily affordable housing that is simple and predictable.   Many in the room talked about the difficulties they had with related programs, such as HUD energy efficiency programs and uncertain solar policies in other jurisdictions, where convoluted rules and procedures created real deterrents for investing and scaling solar in LMI markets.

The message from the day was to use California MASH as a model when coming up with solar policies to reach LMI markets across the United States.   Closer to home, we hope that the simple and predictable approach is continued with AB 693, so that California will continue to lead the nation in scalable solar PV solutions for multifamily affordable housing.

I wanted to thank all of our clients that have taken advantage of the MASH Program and the various ways to finance solar.  It is now a proven market concept that is attracting additional capital and building making clean solar systems available to most affordable housing owners and tenants throughout California.


Scott Sarem
Everyday Energy Co-Founder and CEO


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