In 2018, a yearlong collaboration process managed by DEFG LLC and the Low Income Energy Issues Forum involved over 100 stakeholder organizations examining which approaches make shared solar accessible to a wide range of low and moderate income communities .Judith Schwartz served as Lead Investigator, facilitator of the working group, and authored many of the presentations as well as the Final Report and Roadmap document, published in 2019. The LICSWG was supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, Commonwealth Edison, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, DTE Energy, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), E4theFuture, and Citizens Energy Corporation. This effort built upon 2017 research by To the Point on behalf of LIEIF, that examined the state of Community Solar and how CS was benefiting Underserved Residents.
We learned that as policy makers seek to make renewable energy more available to less affluent residents, helps to take a holistic view. By discussing alternatives, we saw an opportunity to anticipate and overcome obstacles. The group made suggestions how to improve existing approaches to community solar as well as proposing new and emerging ideas that may allow more LI families to participate. We also examined where well-meaning stakeholders trying to address societal goals of environmental equity, decarbonization, and reduction of energy poverty may unintentionally add to the financial burden of the very families they wish to support.