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How to bring solar energy to low-income communities

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Boston Globe, May 2024

A recent report revealed that 80 percent of existing energy infrastructure in Massachusetts is located in or within 1 mile of low-income communities, particularly communities of color. It isn’t surprising — the same is true of many polluting land uses such as hazardous waste facilities, incinerators, and highways. This issue has come to a head in East Boston with a Conservation Law Foundation lawsuit on Monday arguing that the approval for an Eversource electricity substation should be overturned. This is why the report by several advocacy groups recommends changes to the electricity infrastructure siting process so these environmental justice communities are not forced to bear the burden of providing energy. It is just as important that these communities get their fair share of the renewable energy solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

More than 4 million rooftop solar systems have been installed in the United States, with Massachusetts being one of the top five states. While this is a laudable achievement, policy to promote rooftop solar has mainly subsidized the wealthy who own their homes and can make the upfront investment. Installing solar on the rooftops of single-family homes is straightforward — get the subsidies, install the panels, and reap the benefits of generating your own electricity and selling the excess back to the utility.

Read more at Boston Globe.

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