LIFT Solar

Accelerating Low-Income Financing & Transactions for Solar Access Everywhere

In May 2019, Southface Institute partnered with Groundswell, Elevate Energy and Clean Energy Works to launch LIFT Solar, a three-year research project funded through the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO). Led by Groundswell, LIFT Solar partners are conducting research and developing program designs to rapidly accelerate accessible, market-based, scalable community solar and clean energy programs for low-income households and communities across the country. The goal of this collaborative project is to develop optimal program design and pricing for both renters and homeowners in each common regulatory and utility service environment.

Each LIFT Solar partner is drawing on actual energy efficiency, solar and community solar customer data from their existing projects for the research effort. LIFT Solar will also gather and analyze data nationally from similar solar and resource-efficiency programs, improving accuracy and developing strong, thriving program designs to serve low-income families.

LIFT Solar needs your help!

LIFT Solar is requesting residential energy efficiency, water efficiency and solar program data from additional utilities, municipalities, private and non-profit organizations to inform its research. Using this data, LIFT Solar partners will analyze both low-and moderate-income (LMI) customer experience and project level finance models. Based on this analysis, LIFT Solar will develop a ‘tool kit’ to guide stakeholders toward the delivery of effective, transparent service designs that integrate building energy efficiency with solar benefits for LMI households.

If you have any questions about LIFT Solar please contact Chris Nichols or Alex Trachtenberg.

LIFT Solar Partners

Groundswell builds community power. A 501c3 nonprofit founded in the District of Columbia in 2009, Groundswell develops and manages community solar programs that connect clean power with economic empowerment. You can learn more about Groundswell at


Clean Energy Works connects champions of energy efficiency and renewable energy with resources that accelerate investment in clean energy solutions. A nonprofit organization, Clean Energy Works focuses on business plan development for utilities that are using Pay As You Save (PAYS®) financing to update their investment model for the 21st century. Learn more at

Elevate Energy LogoElevate Energy’s mission is to deliver smarter energy use for all. We design and implement programs that reduce costs, protect people and the environment, and ensure the benefits of clean and efficient energy use reach those who need them most. As a national thought leader in the development of strategies for solar deployment in diverse and low-income communities, Elevate Energy has managed efficiency programs for ComEd, Ameren, Nicor, and Peoples Gas and administered programming for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Elevate Energy has also facilitated energy planning for states including Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri, and renewable energy deployment strategies for the City of Chicago, Detroit, and Gary, Indiana. Learn more at

DOE EERE LogoThe Solar Energy Technologies Office supports early-stage research and development in the solar technologies with the goal of improving the affordability, reliability, and performance of solar technologies on the grid. LIFT Solar is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the Solar Energy Technologies Office Award Number DE-0008567. Learn more at



Applying the PAYS® System to On-Site Solar to Expand Access for All

The purpose of this three-part paper is to determine whether and how the PAYS® system for tariffed on-bill investment could make on-site solar systems available to low- and moderate-income customers and renters.

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LIFT Solar Customer Experience Benchmarking Analysis

The LIFT Solar Everywhere research project has developed a three-part research report to determine whether and how the PAYS® system for tariffed on-bill investment could make on-site solar systems available to low- and moderate-income (LMI) customers. The PAYS system is …

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