January 06, 2012

Distributed Generation Liberates Poorer Communities from an Expensive and Unreliable Grid

Posted In | By Shaun

A story by Public Radio International (PRI) explains how a micro-loan program gives residents of poorer communities access to clean electricity. Where access to the grid can be expensive and unreliable—including power outages lasting hours each day—solar panels gives communities access to functions we may take for granted, including mobile phone charging and indoor lighting.  After one resident used micro-loans to set up solar panels that support his livelihood as a silk farmer, nearly 100 other neighbors acquired solar panels, showing that distributed solar generation can be contagious and accessible.

In the United States, citizens are fighting for access to Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans, which involve installing rooftop solar panels and paying for them over time through individual property tax assessments.  Dozens of states and municipalities support the PACE model, but the Federal Housing Finance Agency halted citizen access to such financing.  Unlocking PACE could make distributed solar generation even more accessible in the United States, reducing our dependence on wasteful and destructive utility-scale sources of energy.