Modeling the potential effects of rooftop solar on household energy burden in the United States

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Journal Article

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Policymakers at the federal and state level have begun to incorporate energy burden into equity goals and program evaluations, aiming to reduce energy burden below a high level of 6% for lower income households in the United States. Pairing an empirical household-level dataset spanning United States geographies together with modeled hourly energy demand curves, we show that rooftop solar reduces energy burden across a majority of adopters during our study period from a median of 3.3% to 2.6%. For low- and moderate-income adopters (at or below 80% and 120% of area median income, respectively), solar reduces median 2021 energy burden from 7.7% to 6.2%, and 4.1% to 3.3%, respectively. Importantly, solar reduces the rate of high or severe energy burden from 67% of all low-income households before adoption to 52% of households following adoption, and correspondingly from 21% to 13% for moderate-income households. Here, we show rooftop solar can support policy goals to reduce energy burden along with strategies such as weatherization and bill assistance.


Nature Communications



Year of Publication




An open-access version of this article published in Nature Communications can be downloaded here. A brief overview of this study can be found here.

A webinar discussing this study was recorded on June 26, 2024, and can be viewed here


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