DNREC launching pilot program, seeking installation for low to moderate income Delawareans
DELAWARE – The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) is launching a pilot residential solar power program.
The two-year pilot will provide certain low to moderate income Delawareans with solar panel installation at their homes. Low income recipients will have the panels installed at no cost, and those under a moderate income will get them for 30% of the typical cost.
“The goal of this program is really twofold. First and foremost, it’s to expand solar renewable energy in underserved communities, decrease their utility bills, and really give them access to something that, traditionally, low to moderate Delawareans have not had access to,” said Robert Underwood, DNREC’s Environmental Program Administrator. “The second, is to increase renewable energy capacity across Delaware, to have a cleaner economy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and support the climate action plan that the state of Delaware is working on.”
DNREC says solar panel installation costs can often run into thousands of dollars, just in upfront payment. Underwood says that can serve as a large barrier for those wanting to use solar power with a low income.
“People just can’t afford that additional investment. So, this program, for low income Delawareans, is 100% covered. The program will cover 100% of it. There’s no out of pocket, no future expenses for the homeowner,” said Underwood. “[For moderate income Delawareans] that really takes a lot of the burden off the homeowner, and will reduce that up front cost by about 70%.”
Underwood hopes that those who are a part of the program will see more financial stability. At the same time, he thinks it could help Delaware as a whole.
“It really allows the homeowner to have a bit more money to spend on other things. We know with gas prices and food prices, every dollar is important. So, decreasing their utility bill is a really big part of it,” he said. “The other part of it is decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. With less electricity off the grid, or they’re using propane or heating oil or another form of natural gas or fuel, then it’s really a greenhouse gas reduction effort.”
DNREC says after the pilot program is complete, they will re-evaluate, and adjust as needed for a future, permanent program. The pilot program is slated to launch July 1st. Interested Delawareans can apply by clicking here.