Indianapolis program to increase low-income access to solar power

An employee installs a solar panel system on the roof of a home. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A new program is starting that aims to have the homes of up to 20 low and middle-income Indianapolis families running on solar power free of charge by the end of 2020.

The program, a partnership between the city of Indianapolis and the national nonprofit Solar United Neighbors, will provide grants toward the estimated $5,000 to $20,000 cost of installing solar panels for a home.

The goal is to make solar power accessible to more homes, city Office of Sustainability Director Katie Robinson said.

Indianapolis homeowners with an income at or less than 80% of the area’s median household income are eligible for grant funding through this program. A family of four with an income of $63,900 would be eligible.

The households selected will receive the installation and equipment, said Zach Schalk, the Indiana program director for Solar United Neighbors.

“We’re really viewing this as a kind of pilot program, a proven concept to see a low-income solar program and what kind of impact it can have in Indianapolis,” Schalk said. “Hopefully turning around and being able to design something that will be a little more ambitious beyond 2020.”

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