SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – National Grid has filed a proposal to expand access to solar energy and provide annual bill discounts to up to 20,000 low-income customers in Massachusetts according to Principal Program Manager Robert Kievra.

Community Shared Solar is part of the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program, which enables customers to lower their bills through local solar projects without having to install solar panels on their property. 

As of December 2020, less than 5% of solar capacity in the SMART program serves low-income customers however the Solar Access Initiative, which is pending review from the state Department of Public Utilities (DPU), seeks to make clean energy more accessible to low-income customers. 

“No matter their income level, all of our customers should share in the benefits of distributed solar, with this proposal, we are demonstrating our commitment to offering fair and affordable solutions as we drive toward our clean energy future,” said Marcy Reed, president of National Grid in Massachusetts.

The Solar Access Initiative aims to expand access to Community Shared Solar projects by eliminating the need for customer credit checks through a new Solar Simplified Billing program. 

In addition, National Grid will launch a Solar Enrollment Program exclusively available to low-income customers that will provide approximately $240 in annual bill discounts.  

National Grid’s Solar Enrollment Program will simplify the process for low-income customers to sign up for Community Shared Solar projects.

The program will offer a month-to-month subscription, no sign-up or cancellation fees, and an electricity bill discount of approximately $240 per year.

Residential customers enrolled in National Grid’s low-income rate will be eligible to participate.

National Grid expects that the program will serve up to 20,000 low-income customers.