Recently, the report Rooftop Solar Technical Potential for Low-to-Moderate Income Households in the United States was released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). As the title suggests, the NREL looked into the solar potential for household in the low-to-moderate income (LMI) levels. The study defined those levels as earners that made 80 percent or less of the median income in the area.
Takeaways from the study:
Rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) has typically been utilized by higher-income households. Since solar prices are dropping, that should expand the amount of households able to purchase this technology.
According to the study, the amount of rooftops that could be utilized for solar PV would be able to generate a whopping 75 percent of residential consumption. “Over all tracts and all residential buildings in the United States, the estimated residential rooftop
solar technical potential is nearly 1,000 terawatt-hour (TWh) of generation, or about 75% of residential consumption.”
The findings show that a “substantial fraction of the national rooftop solar potential is located on LMI buildings and, for all incomes, a substantial fraction is located on multi-family and renter-occupied buildings.”
Also noted, the savings on electric bills from rooftop solar “would have the greatest material impact on the lives of low-income households as compared to their high-income counterparts and could help mitigate the energy burden faced by these households.”
Ultimately, the study shows that it would be advantageous for all of us to find ways to make solar energy accessible to everyone.To read the study for yourself, visit https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy18osti/70901.pdf.