Local solar generation reduces the energy burden for LMI communities in Louisville
Solar Stewards is a program dedicated to facilitating the development of distributed generation solar on-site to historically marginalized communities. Their Solarize program in Louisville, Kentucky helps local under-resourced communities reap the benefits of solar energy. Residential clean energy can drastically reduce a household’s energy burden, but systemic barriers, such as lack of solar outreach, financial challenges, and home ownership issues have prevented low-income groups from participating in solar programs. However, bulk purchasing makes residential solar possible in low-income communities, because it provides an opportunity to use collective buying power. As a result, the entire community has access to discounted, wholesale electricity rates. This bulk purchasing installation program facilitates the equitable adoption and advancement of solar energy.
When on-site solar energy is generated, Social Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) are produced for Climate Stewards, the organizations that are actively reducing their carbon footprint through support of the program, to purchase. Social RECs are REC projects that deliver tangible impact in historically excluded and underserved markets. Through its REC sales, the Louisville solar project provides support for the restoration of the Parkland community, which has suffered from civil rights issues for decades. During the Jim Crow era, Louisville suffered from systems of segregation, which created a pattern of neglect and disinvestment in many communities. This was especially felt in the Parkland community, where many businesses and residents were impacted by violent race riots in 1968.
+ Residential buildings account for 27.4% of Louisville’s GHG emissions. The Solarize program will assist in Louisville Metro’s goal of installing solar energy on 50% of homes by 2050.
+ Through bulk purchasing and solar grants for low-to-moderate income residents, Solarize’s rooftop solar installations have the potential to reduce the consumer’s energy bills for the next 20 years.
+ In addition to rooftop installations, Solarize hosts informational and educational workshops co-hosted by Louisville partners. Community members also received services and resources, such as energy efficiency upgrades, roof repair, and other home improvements that they wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.