The impact of policies and business models on income equity in rooftop solar adoption

Publication Type

Journal Article

Date Published





Low- and moderate-income (LMI) households are less likely to adopt rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV) than higher income households in the United States. As the existing literature has shown, this dynamic can decelerate rooftop PV deployment and has potential energy justice implications, in light of the cost-shifting between PV and non-PV households that can occur under typical rate structures and incentive programs. Here we show that some state policy interventions and business models have expanded PV adoption among LMI households. We find evidence that LMI-specific financial incentives, PV leasing, and property-assessed financing have increased the diffusion of PV adoption among LMI households in existing markets and have driven more installations into previously under-served low-income communities. By shifting deployment patterns, we posit that these interventions could catalyze peer effects to increase PV adoption in low-income communities even among households that do not directly benefit from the interventions.


Nature Energy

Year of Publication




A free view-only version of this article as published in Nature Energy can be found here.

A webinar highlighting key findings from this work recorded on December 3, 2020, can be viewed here

Related resources
This work builds on LBL research on demographic trends in solar PV adoption. See other resources available at the LBL Solar Demographic Trends and Analysis webpage. 


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