Georgia is one of the top five states in the country with the highest low-income energy burden. Despite dramatic decreases in the cost of clean energy, solar options remain out of reach for most low-and moderate-income (LMI) families. Nonprofit community development financial institution the Capital Good Fund has launched the pilot of its Georgia BRIGHT (Building, Renewables, Investing in Green, Healthy, Thriving Communities) solar leasing program to expand solar access. More than 200 homeowners making less than $100,000 a year will be able to lease solar systems that Capital Good Fund owns and maintains. The average family stands to save 20% on energy costs a month. To qualify, homeowners must have a roof in good condition and meet certain income requirements, with no minimum credit score required.
The Georgia BRIGHT Solar leasing program will be available to Georgia families living in Metro Atlanta, Greater Savannah, Fulton County, Athens and Dekalb County.
“Georgia BRIGHT is a discount solar lease program that saves LMI homeowners money starting Day 1,” said Capital Good Fund chief business officer Aisha Bussey. “Because it is a lease program, there is no upfront cost and families do not pay to install or maintain the panels.”
This program is possible because the Inflation Reduction Act allows nonprofits to use tax credits to reduce the cost of solar panels for low- to moderate-income homeowners. Grant and other financial support has also been secured from various organizations, including $1 million from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation to aid in the set up of the program.
“Our organizations are passionate about making solar accessible to all,” says Seth Gunning, Principal at Sunpath Solar. “We are all thrilled to partner with Capital Good Fund on this transformative initiative and look forward to the positive impact it will have on the Georgia community.”
As a part of this program, this collective of EPCs will be providing employment opportunities and training from within the LMI communities in which the solar systems will be installed.
Lower-income earners, families of color, and senior citizens spend disproportionately more of their income on utilities without the means to compensate when their bills go up.
“Solar has been largely inaccessible to low-income communities,” said Capital Good Fund founder and CEO Andy Posner. “If no one is giving them the opportunity, you’re increasing that income gap, because the wealthiest people will access it and further increase their wealth profile.”
News item from Capital Good Fund