Public Resource
Pathway to Prosperity: Lessons learned from developing and implementing a low-income solar program in Washington, D.C.
Solar United Neighbors
  • Start small, then scale up. Starting with a pilot program to allow you to learn, develop local political and program champions, and iron out difficulties before launching a full-fledged program.
  • Build trust in the community. Relationships were key to successfully building a robust pipeline of program participants. Regular phone calls with participants were an important part of ensuring they were comfortable with many of the complex details of the program and solar.
  • Leverage key partnerships. One of the most successful partnerships we had was with the District’s Office of Aging and Community Living (DCOA). Thanks to this partnership we were able to attend events and educate low-income seniors across D.C.
  • Expand customer base through referrals. Door-to-door canvassing didn’t yield the results we expected, but the referral program helped boost sign ups. 
  • Work to simplify the process. Every step in the process is another step where people can get discourage and exit the pipeline. A successful program will be simply enough that it will not place undue burdens on the participants, while being thorough enough to safeguard tax-payers money.
  • Be flexible and creative in the communications process. The "digital divide" is real. Programs cannot soley rely on online communications or even the phone. For seniors it was important that documents be mailed and printed in a way that made it accessible to them.