eLab: Forge Teams

Utility-Enabled Rooftop Solar for Underserved Markets

Utility-Enabled Rooftop Solar for Underserved Markets

Enabling low-and-moderate-income (LMI) communities to participate in distributed solar markets

Champion: Austin Energy


Austin Energy is exploring opportunities to increase solar access in underserved markets including among low- and moderate- income (LMI) customers. Recognizing the limited access to capital and/or credit that these customers face, Austin Energy is convening stakeholders at eLab Forge to develop approaches that will overcome obstacles and allow all customers to take advantage of the benefits of solar. This team will work to articulate a path towards a win-win solution that leverages economies of scale, federal incentives, and decreased risk. The goal is to achieve desirable low-cost solar offerings for LMI customers, all while avoiding cross-subsidization from other ratepayers.

Project Objective

Explore the barriers to and opportunities for providing solar access and benefits to underserved markets.


Jason Prince, RMI Senior Associate, Electricity

Team Members
  • Tim Harvey, Renewable Program Manager, Austin Energy
  • Mary Palmer, Conservation Program Associate, Austin Energy
  • Rachel Stone, Assistant Executive Director, Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation
  • Kaiba White, Climate Policy and Outreach Specialist, Public Citizen
  • Jacquie Moss, Research Fellow, TEPRI
  • Amy Heart, Director of Public Policy, SunRun
  • Chuck Watkins, Solar Program Manager, iCast
Progress Made to Date (pre-Accelerator)

Austin Energy has engaged LMI stakeholders twice over the last 12 months to gather input on solar offerings and has also conducted an online survey. In addition, Austin Energy participated in a study of LMI-focused solar programs across the nation to identify pros and cons.