California is pushing to reach 100% renewable energy, and solar power will go a long way in achieving that goal.
Fast Company writer Eillie Anzilotti says that part of operating on 100% renewable energy will include bringing solar to communities that haven't otherwise had access to it, especially low income communities.
Sunrun, a San Francisco-based residential solar and storage company with around 3,200 employees, has a plan to help fill that access gap. Over the next 10 years, the company will install at least 100 megawattsof solar on affordable multifamily housing developments where 80% of residents earn below 60% of the area median income. “We have a very broad vision for how residential rooftop solar can change our energy system,” says Sunrun chief of policy Anne Hoskins, “but we have to make sure that can happen across all income levels.”
Since Sunrun was founded in 2007, says Hoskins, the company has aimed to democratize access to solar. It pioneered a solar-as-a-service model, in which homeowners could lease solar panels from Sunrun and pay for electricity usage, but avoid the cost of paying for the panels outright. That substantially reduced the expense associated with residential solar, especially considering a home solar system in 2007 cost around $53,000 (the price has dropped to about $20,000 today).
Though it’s expanded this model to 23 states and Puerto Rico, Sunrun has been on the lookout for opportunities to deepen its impact in low-income communities, which, Hoskins says, are too often subject to the negative externalities of coal and fossil-fuel-based energy systems, while lacking access to renewables.Read More