Solar savings mean more to low-income families than to anyone else. A 2011 study found that households earning between $10,000 and $30,000 per year spent 23% of their after-tax income on energy – more than twice the national average of 11%.
That’s why money raised during NC WARN’s Solarize programs went into a Sharing Solar fund to help low-income homeowners and renters go solar.
Sharing Solar Projects
October 2015: Solar installed on 4 affordable housing units owned by Durham Community Land Trustees (DCLT). The system is expected to save the tenants $1,700 a year. Read more.
August 2017: Funds donated to Chatham County Habitat for Humanity to create a revolving loan fund that will put solar on all future Habitat homes. Read more.
We also used Sharing Solar funds to:
- add more solar to the roof of Faith Community Church in Greensboro (site of our Solar Freedom test case that challenges the state’s ban on third-party sales of solar)
- perform an energy audit and energy efficiency upgrades at Faith Community Church
- convert the solar system that we donated to Urban Ministries of Durham in 2012 to net metering, to save the organization more money on its electric bill
Why Share Solar?
Duke Energy and others say that solar hurts the poor because poor people can’t afford solar power. However, as NC WARN has reported, Duke and other utilities lobby against policies that would allow lower-income homeowners to install solar for no money down. Our Sharing Solar projects were a way to share solar with our neighbors whose access to solar is being blocked. We are looking for more ways as part of our NC Clean Path 2025 project.