Energy Trust’s Solar program launched Solar Within Reach in late 2019, with an offer of increased incentives focused on moderate-income homeowners. The program had a strong first year, exceeding expectations even during a pandemic, and provided incentives for 86 households to go solar in 2020.
Year two was nothing short of astounding, as strong market demand and trade ally support helped the program grow Solar Within Reach applications to 434 households in 2021! The success of Solar Within Reach has helped to increase the income-diversity of our program participants, literally putting solar energy within reach of more households.
The Solar program also surveyed Solar Within Reach customers in 2021. Results showed that many identified as educators, medical professionals, caregivers, and food/retail workers. Many were self-employed or retired and on fixed incomes. Almost all were just as concerned about the financial side of going solar as they were about wanting to help the environment and combat climate change. Solar Within Reach helped reduce the cost of installing a solar system, allowing them to overcome the financial hurdle and benefit from solar energy.
Demand for solar, including Solar Within Reach, is expected to remain very high in 2022. Furthermore, HB 3141, passed by the Oregon legislature, requires Energy Trust to dedicate at least 25% of its budget for renewable energy programs to low- and moderate-income customers. Solar Within Reach will help meet that requirement, and will continue to be a core piece of Energy Trust’s renewable portfolio by extending the benefits of solar to all customers.
For more information about Solar Within Reach, contact Energy Trust’s Solar team.