Solar for all Americans — Regardless of Income


Low-income renters and homeowners get access to solar power in Los Angeles and Arizona. Projects like these show that increasingly, solar is not just for the rich and can extend well beyond the middle-class.

We’ve already established that solar is not just for the rich. But while solar has come well within reach for the middle-class, what about low-income folks? 

Increasingly, they too are able to participate in and benefit from solar. Of course there’s GRID Alternatives, which has now been installing solar for low-income families for ten years. And Habitat for Humanity has been getting in on the action. As solar matures, more models are emerging to get solar to everyone.


Solar for multi-family housing in LA


Solar Provider Promise Energy is also doing its part. The company recently completed a large solar installation on a new building at the base of the Los Angeles National Forest. The Day Street Apartments were developed by LA Family Housing to provide much-needed affordable housing and supportive services to formerly homeless residents of the area. And they’re getting not only homes, but also solar power.


Designed by award-winning Gonzalez Goodale Architecture and constructed by affordable housing experts Walton Construction, the 45-unit LEED Gold project features a 12-collector solar water heating system and 36 kW of PV panels installed by Promise Energy.


Investing in energy-efficiency and renewable energy on multifamily housing projects can reduce operating expenses and utility costs. This helps keep housing affordable for low-income families; and provides longer-lasting, more self-sufficient projects for portfolio managers.


“By adding solar to the development, we’re bringing operating costs down, which is great for the owner and the residents because it makes the building a stronger asset. And we’re able to afford repairs and sustain the building at a high level for the foreseeable future,” said Keon Montgomery, Director of Housing at LA Family Housing.


Solar as standard on new homes is becoming — well, standard. There’s no reason low-income housing can’t participate in this trend. “In an industry where solar is becoming standard on all new construction projects, groups like LA Family Housing are leading the way by creating sustainable, affordable projects that provide extraordinary benefits to residents and communities,” said Adam Boucher, CEO of Promise Energy.


Andy Mannle, VP of Strategic Development at Promise Energy, added, “It is very rewarding to know that this project will make a real difference in the lives of people who need it most. We are not only reducing energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions, we’re also helping ensure that high-quality affordable housing will be available in this community for years to come.”


Solar for Habitat for Humanity homes in Arizona


Meanwhile, in Arizona, solar provider American Solar is celebrating their partnership with Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona. The partners dedicated Habitat’s 1000th solar home, which features an American Solar energy system.


American Solar’s relationship with Habitat for Humanity began in 2005. CEO Sean Seitz had been involved with the nonprofit outside of work and realized that their mission aligned with his solar energy company.


This is a different strategy from that of LA Family Housing, in that Habitat provides the benefits of homeownership. And now, solar ownership can be part of that offering.


“I love that Habitat for Humanity promotes a responsible methodology for homeownership, and I saw how solar could help people pay for the home they worked so hard to acquire,” Seitz explained. “We wanted to do more than just make a cash donation. We wanted to see firsthand how American Solar’s products can help families succeed.”


Since teaming up in 2005, American Solar has installed 20 solar systems for Habitat, equating to over $240,000 of in-kind donations. The latest installation was completed for the Olaguez Family home in Glendale, Arizona, which represents the 1000th home that Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona has completed.


“We are so blessed to have American Solar as a partner who has helped us reach this amazing milestone,” said Karen Cordy, Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona’s Chief Development Officer. The Seitz family looks forward to celebrating Habitat for Humanity and continuing their strong partnership for years to come.