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Solar Equity

Without an equitable distribution of ownership, new solar development has the potential to exacerbate wealth inequality in the US. Upfront costs present high-barriers to entry and often result in lower ownership rates for non-white households.

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The Solar Foundation

In 2019, the solar industry’s workforce was 7.7% Black or African-American, despite Black workers representing 13% of the U.S. labor. Community solar creates opportunities for dependable careers through workforce development and vocational training. On average, new hires have the potential to be promoted to a mid-level position within one year or less, resulting in a 17% pay raise.


DW Planet A

Solar Panels are everywhere, find out what goes into making them with DW Planet A


Clean Energy States Alliance

Participation in the solar economy can help ease these burdens and provide income-eligible households with economic relief.

Maximize Benefits for Climate-Impacted Communities

The community solar industry is largely driven by the presence of two wealthy players: financiers and utilities. The majority-white, wealthy, and male financiers that are currently essential for the development of large-scale, community solar are often rewarded handsomely for their investments. Their control over the wealth in this field drives inequities in the market, as community solar policies are often designed with the expansion of financier profits prioritized and programs are designed to restrict access to low-to-moderate income populations who financiers perceive as “risky” to their bottom-line. ​

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Solar Equity

With ample incentives for financiers and utilities to maintain the status quo, a conceptually accessible form of clean energy has largely excluded those that stand to benefit the most from its production.


Households eligible for programs like SNAP and Medicaid, and communities of color are largely incapable of entering the industry, as they lack the resources, infrastructure, and access within solar networks to participate in the development of their own projects. Furthermore, those in power have stoked a divide between unionists and environmentalists, as solutions to climate change are portrayed as a direct affront to the working class. The systems that perpetuate inequities across systems are unfortunately apparent within the world of community solar. Therefore, forming solutions to improving access to this industry requires actively working to restructure this power imbalance.

Income-qualifying and communities of color are more likely to lease solar panels than own.


Between 2014 – 2018, households in MA that owned solar arrays saw financial returns 300% higher than those that leased.


Black communities installed 69% less solar than white communities. Hispanic communities installed 30% less.

Energy System Research Blogs

Read blogs written by our inspiring young Fellows during their paid, part-time experiences with us and staff working to research the energy system.

The Dark Side of Solar

Every year, approximately 114,678 thousand megawatt-hours of electricity are generated from utility-scale solar panels in the United States. That’s 2.2% of the United States’ annual

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