California Environmental Justice Alliance

Building Healthy Communities from the Ground up

Governor Brown Signs Nation’s Biggest Solar Bill for Low-Income Renters in History

The renewable energy revolution is on the rise in California with a significant increase in our use of solar power and other renewable energy. However, most low-income communities and communities of color are renters and don’t have access to clean energy and are not able to benefit from this renewable energy revolution. In order to achieve energy equity, we need to ensure that low-income renters residing in multifamily housing have access to the same opportunities to directly benefit from the expansion of renewable energy in our state.

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UPDATE: Governor Brown signed AB 693 into law! Read our press release here!

Multifamily Affordable Housing Renewable Energy Program

AB 693 by Assemblymember Susan Eggman would create the “Multifamily Affordable Housing Renewable Energy Program” to allow low-income tenants of affordable housing projects to benefit from on-site solar installations, with the goal to install 300 megawatts of rooftop solar on multifamily affordable housing projects through 2030.

Low-income renters would receive a portion of the energy produced on the roof of their apartment complex, which would reduce their monthly utility bills and put extra cash in their pockets to spend on other basic needs.

AB 693 will direct $100 million per year, over ten years, from the Greenhouse Gas Option Revenues from the electricity sector to pay for solar systems on qualified low-income rental properties to benefit tenants.

Why Does CEJA Support AB 693?

1. AB 693 closes the “green divide”: Renewable energy projects are usually located in desert areas far away from communities that need it the most. EJ communities experience a “green divide” where these communities usually do no see the renewable energy in their communities nor do they get the jobs and economic benefits from renewable energy. AB 693 helps close this green divide by putting renewable energy right where it’s needed the most – on tenants rooftops.

2. Reduces pollution, fights climate change: Low-income communities and communities of color have the highest rates of pollution and suffer from the highest rates of pollution-related illnesses such as asthma and cancer. These communities are also hardest hit by climate change as they lack the resources to adapt. AB 693 helps shift from dirty energy to renewable energy in these EJ communities which reduces the pollution that causes the climate change while investing in communities that need the renewable energy the most.

3. Reduce energy bills: Currently, low-income communities spend 1/3 of their income on utility bills, while average California households spend less than 5% of their income on utility bills. AB 693 helps lower energy bills for low-income renters by providing them with renewable energy on their rooftops.

 4. Local Clean Energy Jobs: Unemployment and underemployment is highest in low-income communities and communities of color. AB 693 will generate new local clean energy jobs in these communities.

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Click here for the AB 693 Fact Sheet.