Rooftop Solar Technical Potential for Low-to-Moderate Income (LMI) Households

Benjamin Sigrin, Meghan Mooney

Research output: NRELPresentation


This report presents a first-of-kind assessment of the technical potential of rooftop solar for low and moderate-income households, as well as providing insight on the distribution of solar potential by tenure, income, and other building characteristics. We find that a substantial fraction of the national rooftop solar potential is located on LMI buildings and, for all incomes, a substantial fraction on multi-family and renter-occupied buildings. We also find that rooftop solar can significantly contribute to long-term penetration targets established by the U.S. DOE, though to do so requires deployment on multi-family and renter-occupied buildings. Traditional deployment models have insufficiently enabled access to solar for these income groups and building types. Without innovation either in regulatory, market, or policy factors, a large fraction of the U.S. potential is unlikely to be addressed, as well as leading to inequalities in solar access. Ironically, potential electric bill savings from rooftop solar would have the greatest material impact on the lives of low-income households as compared to their high-income counterparts.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages21
StatePublished - 2018

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-6A20-71190


  • LiDAR
  • LMI
  • rooftop solar
  • technical potential


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