The Colorado-based International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology (ICAST) is in works with the United States Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) for a new program intended to create more opportunities for affordable housing through solar expansion. DOE chose ICAST to spearhead Phase 1 of the program, which includes studies to determine the feasibility of low-income community solar facilities.
When looking at these studies, the Colorado nonprofit social enterprise was charged with focusing on third-party markets. Specifically, it started with markets that are without ample subsidies provided by the state. It also looked at third-party markets that have no Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) that can be scalable nationally.
When the feasibility studies were completed, ICAST was left with insights into the current issues with solar options, including how to develop and finance low-income community solar programs. Additionally, ICAST determined barriers and possible solutions to how Green Banks and community solar financiers can implement financial instruments, including battery storage, the impact of Time-of-Use and other tariffs on community solar financing, and the means by which community solar tariffs are used toward providing consumers with bill credits.
ICAST will provide the findings of its case studies to interested parties that are looking to improve the accessibility of low-income community solar. Among its papers will be recommendations on achieving this goal and expanding the reach of these cost-saving solar programs. All findings will eventually be posted on ICAST’s official website.
According to ICAST’s founder, Ravi Malhotra, the nonprofit received ample help from the DOE and its Solar Advisory Group to promote feasibility studies’ success. While there is no date slated for this project’s second phase, ICAST is already gearing up to deliver the necessary results.
According to ICAST’s website, its mission is to provide communities with economic, social, and environmental benefits. Among the many ways it does this is by working in renewables, such as in the case of this DOE-funded project.