In Cleveland, Ohio, US, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and Climate Justice, Solar United Neighbors, and Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity embarked on a pilot project to put solar panels on up to half a dozen homes for low-income households. Applicants for the project had to be at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. “To be able to make energy for the home as affordable as possible is a pretty incredible step,” said John Litten, executive Director for Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity. About 60% of Cleveland’s population – more than 100,000 households – currently have a high energy burden, meaning they spend more than 6% of their income on their energy bills. Follow-up work will document what benefits the solar panels actually provide, including savings on bills, while also exploring the challenges households face in adopting solar energy. Program leaders hope the data can be used for additional pilot projects and eventually lead to wider use of solar in Cleveland’s low-to moderate-income neighborhoods.

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