Solar for All California



In 2010, CSD challenged its existing energy providers to design a program to install rooftop solar systems on low-income homes. Using a competitive bid process, CSD asked energy providers to meet these objectives:

  • Install optimally-sized residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on single- or multi-family homes
  • Develop creative partnerships to provide systems with no loans, no liens and no out-of-pocket costs for the low-income owners or residents
  • Put energy efficiency first to further reduce the energy consumption of each home
  • Develop “green” jobs by training low-income workers to become solar installers.

The pilot program wrapped up in the end of 2012 and greatly surpassed original goals and estimates for the number of low-income households that would be reached and the amount of renewable energy generated. The total number of households benefitting from the program nearly tripled the department’s original goal set in 2010, which was to reach 500 low-income households.


CSD set aside $14.7 million, a portion of its annual federally-funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program allocation, under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to fund this innovative pilot program. Additionally, more than $3.5 million has been leveraged through local and other partners, helping to increase the number of low-income households reached through the program.

CSD’s Solar For All California pilot program as origninally designed has come to the end. If you're interested in solar programs targeting low-income households, please visit the California Solar Initiative Single Family Affordable Solar Housing (SASH) Program.


  • 1,482 low-income households have received fully installed solar systems.
  • This number consists of 545 single-family residential installed systems. The solar systems ranged in size from 1.2 to 5.5 kW.
  • The total also includes 14 multi-family apartment building projects, with 937 individual units benefitting from solar power. The solar systems ranged in size from 24 to 64 kW.


CSD created a solar educational pamphlet to help educate the households that received solar installations on the benefits of solar power. It is available in both English and Spanish:



“Thank you so very much for having provided the means to have the solar panels installed on my roof. I have had two PG&E bills showing the wattage produced by the panels, and my PG&E bills have been reduced by more than half each month” - Customer in Guerneville, CA

“I no longer have electric bills, and since I am currently unemployed, the extra money is spent on everyday living. I feel extremely lucky to be given this gift. It saves me money monthly and will add value to my home.” - Customer in Lakeport, CA

“We have had a big reduction in our PG&E bill since it has been installed. My husband became disabled in 2008 and we have had a very rough time since then. We have been paying everything in arears so having one less utility to worry about can go to something else we worry about.” - Customer in Kelseyville, CA