Solar for All
Solar Opportunities for Income-Qualified DC Residents
Going solar saves money and reduces your carbon footprint. Through Solar for All, a Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) program, the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) is working with local solar contractors to design and install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at no cost to income-qualified District homeowners. These systems have the potential to offset electricity costs by as much as $500 per year.
Find out if you qualify for no-cost solar on your home.
Qualifying for DCSEU Solar for All
Homeowners must contract with a solar installer that is authorized by the DCSEU. The local installer can assess whether the shading and orientation of your home and the condition of your roof makes your home a good candidate for solar. All systems will be installed by September 30, 2020. Homeowners and tenants can qualify by meeting the requirements below:
Receive assistance from one of the following programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Other Government assistance program
Income qualify (see chart below);
"When you first hear of solar programs you think, ‘It’s out of my financial reach.’ So the fact that it isn’t and its available to me now is great. I feel like by having solar I’m really doing something that helps the environment."
-Barbara, 2019 DCSEU Solar for All recipient
Community Solar Opportunities Through Solar for All
In addition to installing solar directly on income-qualified single-family homes, the DCSEU is also working with solar developers to install large community renewable energy facilities (CREFs), or community solar, on structures around the District as part of the Solar for All program. Once installed and operational, these systems can provide electricity bill credits to save income-qualified District residents up to 50% off their electricity bill each year. This allows residents who live in multifamily buildings or whose roofs are not suitable for solar to access savings from Solar for All.
In 2019, the DCSEU worked with developers to install enough CREF projects to provide bill credits to 2,000 income-qualified families, and that work will continue in 2020-2021. Find out more about the DCSEU's Solar for All work on the DCSEU blog.
Interested in subscribing for Solar for All Community Solar? Visit the DOEE website to apply.
Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS SOLAR FOR ALL?
Solar for All, a program of the District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment, seeks to provide the benefits of solar electricity to 100,000 low-income households and reduce their energy bills by 50% by 2032. The program, which was established by the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Expansion Amendment Act of 2016, is funded by the Renewable Energy Development Fund (REDF). For more information about Solar for All visit DOEE's Solar for All web page.
HOW DOES SOLAR WORK?
Solar panels absorb the sun’s energy and convert it to electricity you can use. Electricity flows through your home, powering electronic devices. Any extra electricity solar panels make that you don’t use is fed into the electric grid.
WILL I STILL GET AN ELECTRICITY BILL?
Yes. While the system will offset your electricity costs by about $500 per year or more, you will still be getting a portion of your electricity from the grid.
IS THE SYSTEM REALLY NO COST IF I MEET THE INCOME QUALIFICATIONS?
Yes. The cost of installing solar is fully covered by the DCSEU through the 2020 Solar for All Program. *Please note: Applying for this program does not guarantee your eligibility to receive a solar system. The 2020 Solar For All program operates on a first-come, first-served basis and fulfillment is dependent on funding availability.
DO I NEED TO OWN MY HOME TO GO SOLAR?
No. Renters who meet the income requirements are eligible for the program as long as the homeowner agrees to the terms and conditions of the program.
WHAT KIND OF MAINTENANCE IS NEEDED FOR MY SYSTEM?
Although there is not every day maintenance required for a solar PV system, it is recommended that the customer monitor the display on the system's inverter at least quarterly to ensure the system is functioning properly.
WHO MAINTAINS THE SYSTEM?
The contractor who installs the system will also maintain the system over a 15-year period.
Solar for All 2020 Webinar
Want to learn more? View the presentation for more information about qualifying for Solar for All. The presentation includes an introduction from our program director, Shelley Cohen, a full walkthrough of Solar for All program eligibility, and information on some other ways to save money on your home energy bill with funding from the DCSEU.