Bring renewable energy to low-income communities

Sep 2, 2015
By David Allgood

It’s nothing less than a revolution in California: More and more, residents are greening their energy sources, turning to solar and other renewable energy sources. Houses and small businesses in my neighborhood are increasingly equipped with shiny high-tech solar panels. It’s the present, the future, and it’s fantastic. However, most residents of low-income communities and communities of color are renters, making it a challenge for those families to fully benefit from the cost-savings and carbon reduction of on-site renewable energy.

Ask your Senator to vote YES on AB 693, the bill to close the “green divide,” and make it possible for low-income families to share equally in California’s transition to clean, renewable energy!

In order to achieve energy equity in the Golden State, it’s critical to ensure that low-income renters residing in multifamily housing have access to the same opportunities to directly benefit from the incredible expansion of renewable energy in our state. AB 693 by Assemblymember Susan Eggman would create the Solar CARE program to allow low-income tenants of affordable housing projects to benefit from on-site solar installations.

This bill could be up for a vote at any time before the legislative session ends next Friday, so your action is urgent: Contact your State Senator today and ask them to vote YES on AB 693! Take action at >>

Not to get personal here, but how much was your last utility bill? The sad truth is that low-income communities spend a third of their income on utility bills, while average California households spend less than 5% of their income on utility bills. AB 693 helps close this green divide by bringing renewable energy right where it’s needed the most -- on tenants’ rooftops. Low-income renters would receive a portion of the energy produced, which would reduce their monthly utility bills and put extra cash in their pockets to spend on other basic needs.

We already know that on-site solar installation helps residents in multifamily housing lower their bills. As Sidney Michael of the City Heights Community Development Corporation says: “City Heights is a low-income area surrounded by freeways. The residents in my buildings have benefited from on-site solar installations at our 43-unit apartment building over the last 2 years. My energy bills used to be $75-90/month and now they've dropped to $20-24/month. Community members are directly benefitting from on-site solar and AB 693 is an opportunity to expand these benefits of solar to low-income communities who need it the most.

The proposal is actually a triple win for disadvantaged communities. We know that low-income communities and communities of color suffer from the highest rates of pollution-related illnesses such as asthma and cancer. These communities are also hardest hit by climate change. AB 693 will help shift these communities from relying on dirty energy to benefiting from renewable energy in three ways: reducing carbon pollution, saving money on utility bills, and creating good-paying jobs. Ten years ago, California had just 200 megawatts (MW) of solar on 50,000 roofs. Today, we have more than 3,000 MW on 300,000 roofs. While this is an amazing accomplishment, the vast majority of these installations have been on single-family homes and businesses. Low-income residents, especially those who rent, haven’t had an equal opportunity to participate in California’s solar energy revolution. It’s well past time to change that: Contact your representative now at >>

Thank you for making sure the renewable energy revolution lifts ALL California communities up!



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