ICAST Selected by the Department of Energy to Launch Project SunLight: Bringing Solar Energy to Multifamily Affordable Housing

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ICAST was recently selected to manage a $2 Million initiative with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) to overcome the hurdles of deploying solar energy for low-income populations. The project will develop, coordinate, and pilot a new approach that partners with local utilities, affordable multifamily housing (MFAH) owners, investors, and other stakeholders, to create a shared solar model that can aggregate multifamily properties into one solar project for the utility to own and manage.

Multifamily affordable housing properties continue to be a neglected segment of the housing market when it comes to access to energy efficiency and renewable energy services. There is a large portion of the low-income community that cannot take advantage of clean technology. The multifamily housing segment is particularly challenged due to a host of reasons including the ‘split-incentive,’ i.e., owners pay for energy efficiency and renewable upgrades while tenants pay the utility bills. This arrangement causes disconnects in the allocation of available incentives and makes solar financing projects difficult.

The goals of the ICAST SETO project includes 1) providing access to solar PV to low-income residents living in affordable multifamily housing; 2) developing a scalable, cost-effective, innovative, financing approach for selected solar projects and;3) creating of a repeatable project model in partnership with local utilities and national investors.

ICAST plans to expand its “One Stop Shop” service model to include shared solar and leverage the expertise of ICAST’s Triple Bottom Line Foundation. Doing so, will allow affordable housing tenants to participate in this new solar program, helping their bottom-lines with reduced utility costs, live in a healthier, safer and more comfortable homes, plus positively impact the environment with lower emissions from reduced fossil fuel consumption.

“ICAST has installed several on-site solar projects over the years,” said Ravi Malhotra, ICAST’s founder, and President. “We are excited to partner again with the Department of Energy to deploy a scalable shared solar model with communities across the Nation.”

With over 17 years’ experience in the clean energy, affordable housing, and community development space, and with the successful launch of dozens of innovative programs, ICAST is well poised to execute Project SunLight successfully. In 2008, ICAST launched MainStreet Power Company, a developer of commercial solar projects, which was sold in late 2015 to AES Corporation after completing $250M of solar projects. ICAST currently manages multifamily DSM programs for various utilities including Rocky Mountain Power, Ameren-Missouri, Dominion Energy, etc.

For partnership information contact: Chuck Watkins, Solar Program Manager, ICAST chuckw@icastusa.org, 303-916-4785.

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