Affordable Housing Toolkit 

Are there affordable housing facilities in your community that could benefit from clean, reliable power? The information and resources listed below will help you explore how the social and economic benefits of resilient power technologies like solar+storage can help improve affordable housing and strengthen your community. These resources, described and hyperlinked below, include key reports, guides, and webinars produced by the Resilient Power Project and other organizations.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about resilient power for affordable housing, please contact us at resilient-power@cleanegroup.org.

Information specific to resilient power for critical community services is available here.

Read more about these resilient affordable housing projects on the Featured Installations page.

Background on Resilient Power Technologies

Resilient power is the ability to provide a facility with continuous, reliable power even when the electric grid goes down. Truly resilient power should be clean, renewable, and have the ability to provide benefits throughout the year, not just during natural disasters and other power emergencies. The resources listed below provide a more in-depth look at the components of a resilient solar+storage system, including an introduction for those new to solar+storage technologies (Solar+Storage 101) and considerations for projects interested in adding storage to an existing solar system (Resilient PV Retrofit and Storage Ready Guidelines).

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Solar+Storage 101: An Introductory Guide to Resilient Solar Power Systems (Clean Energy Group, 2015)

This guide provides a basic technical background and overview of solar+storage systems. It is meant as a starting point for project developers, building owners, facility managers, and state and municipal planners to become familiar with solar+storage technologies, how they work, and what’s involved in getting a new project off the ground.


Resilient Power Project Frequently Asked Questions (Clean Energy Group)

Answers to frequently asked questions about Clean Energy Group’s Resilient Power Project, such as “What is resilient power?” and “How can the Resilient Power Project help me develop a project?”


Resilient PV Retrofit and Storage Ready Guidelines (City University of New York, National Renewable Energy Lab, Meister Consultants Group, 2016)

This fact sheet provides information to installers, utilities, policy makers, and consumers on how to add an energy storage system to existing solar PV systems to create resilient PV or make new PV systems “storage ready”.

Resilient Power Economics

Resilient power systems can boost economic resiliency by reducing or stabilizing utility bills. In some cases, these systems can also generate revenue by providing valuable grid services. The resources listed below includes analyses of the economic case for resilient power systems (The Economics of Battery Storage) as well as tools to determine whether or not solar+storage makes economic sense for specific buildings (Project Qualification Score Card).

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The Economics of Battery Energy Storage (Rocky Mountain Institute, 2015)

This report explores four key questions: 1) What services can batteries provide to the electricity grid? 2) Where on the grid can batteries deliver each service? 3) How much value can batteries generate when they are highly utilized and multiple services are stacked? 4) What barriers currently prevent energy storage systems from providing multiple, stacked services to the electricity grid?


Resilience for Free: How Solar+Storage Could Protect Multifamily Affordable Housing from Power Outages at Little or No Net Cost (Clean Energy Group, 2015)
This report uses project data for buildings in New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. to examine the financial case for installing solar+storage systems to support critical common area loads in multifamily affordable housing.


Closing the California Clean Energy Divide: Reducing Electric Bills in Affordable Multifamily Rental Housing with Solar+Storage (Clean Energy Group, California Housing Partnership, Center for Sustainable Energy, Geli, 2016)
This report examines the utility bill impacts of adding battery storage to stand-alone solar in affordable rental housing facilities in California’s three investor-owned utility service territories, each with different rate structures.


Energy Storage and Electricity Markets: The value of storage to the power system and the importance of electricity markets in energy storage economics (Clean Energy Group, 2015)

This report introduces electricity markets where storage has begun to play a significant role. The report examines how emerging energy storage markets have developed and the potential for realizing additional value streams through new market mechanisms.


Project Qualification Score Card (Geli, 2016)

Simple scorecard to help developers determine which projects may have the greatest potential economic outcome for solar+storage development.


Installed Cost Benchmarks and Deployment Barriers for Residential Solar Photovoltaics with Energy Storage (National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Rocky Mountain Institute, U.S. Department of Energy, 2017)

This report provides detailed component- and system-level installed cost benchmarks for residential solar+storage systems. In addition to cost information, it examines barriers to increased deployment of solar+storage systems in the residential sector.


Levelized Cost of Storage Analysis 2.0 (Lazard, 2016)

In-depth study that comparing the costs of various energy storage technologies for particular applications. The analysis identifies 10 use cases, and assigns detailed operational parameters to each. This methodology enables meaningful comparisons of storage technologies within use cases.

Financing Resilient Power Projects

Affordable housing resilient power projects can be financed through a variety of mechanisms, including third-party power purchase agreements and leases, development loans, tax-exempt and taxable bonds, and commercial PACE financing. The resources below discuss consideration and strategies for financing a resilient power projects (Financing for Clean, Resilient Power Solutions).

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Financing for Clean, Resilient Power Solutions (Clean Energy Group, 2014)

This paper describes a broad range of financing mechanisms that are either just beginning to be used or that have a strong potential for providing low-cost, long-term financing for solar+storage projects. The goal is to identify financing tools that can be used to implement projects and that will attract private capital on highly favorable terms, thereby reducing the overall project cost.


Webinar – Financing Solar+Storage with Federal Tax Credits (Clean Energy Group, Deloitte Tax, 2016)

This webinar covers the historical treatment of energy storage combined with renewables under the U.S. Tax Code, as well as recent tax developments and a look at the future of solar+storage tax treatment under various use cases and new regulations.


A Resilient Power Capital Scan: How Foundations Could Use Grants and Investments to Advance Solar and Storage in Low-Income Communities (Clean Energy Group, 2017)

This report identifies market barriers to deploying solar+storage technologies in low-income markets, and proposes more than 50 grant and investment opportunities that socially minded investors can use to target those barriers.


Ramp Up Resilient Power Finance: Bundle Project Loans Through a Warehouse Facility to Achieve Scale (Clean Energy Group, 2015)

This report outlines a new clean energy finance model for many resilient power systems to protect vulnerable communities and critical infrastructure from severe weather events.

Project Evaluation Tools

Before heading too far down the project development path, it’s important to perform a high-level assessment of the feasibility of any planned resilient power installation. The free tools listed below are intended to give planners and developers a better understanding of initial design considerations and cost savings before proceeding with a project. These tools are not intended to replace design and engineering expertise, instead they should be viewed as simple, first-pass decision-making tools designed to generate a rough idea of resilient power system sizing, costs, and potential economic benefits.

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ESyst: Commercial Energy Storage Economic Optimization (Geli, 2017)

With access to over 10,000 electric rate tariffs across 1,300 U.S. utility service territories, ESyst was developed to standardize and simplify the process of sizing energy storage and solar+storage systems for commercial and industrial properties. The free online tool lets users perform in-depth site analyses in a matter of minutes – calculating both a property’s energy and demand charges savings over time. The tool allows users to select from multiple system options according to project needs, financial parameters, and supplier preferences, and includes functionality to download full financial pro formas and a detailed breakdown of how the system will generate value. Clean Energy Group is offering free training and assistance to nonprofit organizations interested in using ESyst.

  • Webinar: ESyst: Optimizing Energy Storage Savings with Geli’s New Online Tool (Clean Energy Group, 2017). Highlights of this recording include a 12-minute demo of Geli’s ESyst software (begins at 18 minutes and 45 seconds), followed by a 14-minute case study review of the outputs for a multifamily affordable housing project (begins at 31 minutes and 40 seconds).

Developing a Resilient Power Project

There are a number of questions and considerations that should be explored when beginning to develop a new resilient power project. The resources below can help guide you through the process of planning a resilient power installation, including basic step-by-step guidance for approaching a new project (Solar+Storage Project Checklist) and examples of existing resilient power installations from across the country (Featured Resilient Power Installations).

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Solar+Storage Project Checklist (Clean Energy Group, 2016)

This checklist is intended to serve as a starting point for developers and planners who are considering implementing a solar+storage project. It focuses on basic questions and considerations that should be explored throughout the decision-making process and suggests some initial steps to consider when beginning a new project.


Featured Resilient Power Installations (Clean Energy Group)

This online compilation of existing resilient power projects contains information about system design, services provided, and project financing, as well as detailed case studies for some installations.

Resilient Power Policies

Many states and communities are beginning to lead the way in supporting resilient power technologies through supportive policies and market mechanisms. The following resources are intended to give policymakers and advocates an overview of existing policies and programs (Solar+Storage for Low- and Moderate-Income Communities), along with guidance to inform the design of new resilient power initiatives (Does Energy Storage Fit in an RPS?).

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Solar+Storage for Low- and Moderate-Income Communities: A Guide for States and Municipalities (Clean Energy States Alliance, 2017)

This guide seeks to provide state and municipal officials with information to develop effective solar+storage policies and programs that benefit low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities. It explores a range of policy approaches that have been successfully employed and provides program examples from states that have made LMI access to these technologies a priority.


What States Should Do: A Guide to Resilient Power Programs and Policy (Clean Energy Group, 2015)

This guidebook is intended to help states establish new policies and support new markets to advance clean resilient power nationwide. It profiles leading state programs and makes recommendations for what other states can do to support the deployment of resilient power systems.


What Cities Should Do: A Guide to Resilient Power Planning (Clean Energy Group, 2015)

This paper calls for a systematic approach to protecting critical facilities with smarter resilient power solutions. It presents series of guidelines and best practices for cities and towns preparing to deal with the impacts of severe weather events.


Webinar – Improving Air Quality with Energy Storage: A New Deployment Strategy for Public Health and Environmental Equity (Clean Energy Group, PSE Healthy Energy, 2016)

This webinar describes a new approach to the siting and dispatch of energy storage and demand response resources based on public health considerations. The presenters make a case for policy-driven clean energy deployment strategies based on impacts to air pollution, human health, and environmental justice.


Does Energy Storage Fit in an RPS? (Clean Energy States Alliance, 2016)

This paper explores the question of how states, which have taken the lead in promoting clean energy through Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), could facilitate increased deployment of energy storage through similar mechanisms.

Additional Resources

Several other organizations across the country have projects dedicated to advancing resilient power technologies. Project descriptions and links are available below.

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Energy Storage Technology Advancement Partnership (U.S. Department of Energy, Sandia National Laboratories, Clean Energy States Alliance)

The Energy Storage Technology Advancement Partnership (ESTAP) is a federal-state funding and information sharing project that aims to accelerate the deployment of electrical energy storage technologies in the United States through the creation of technical assistance and co-funding partnerships between states and the U.S. Department of Energy. ESTAP hosts frequent webinar on topics related to resilient power.


New York City Resiliency Resources (City University of New York, Meister Consulting Group, National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

New York City’s Resilient Solar project aims to support the growth of resilient solar electric systems that can supply clean, emergency power and provide energy storage during electricity outages, by enabling the systems to work independently of the grid. The project will create a roadmap for the integration and tracking of resilient solar systems, conduct analysis for deploying resilient solar electric systems on designated critical infrastructure facilities, and provide a calculator for public use.


San Francisco Solar and Storage for Resiliency (San Francisco Department of the Environment)

San Francisco’s Solar+Storage for Resiliency project aims to expand the solar market by serving as a national model for integrating solar+storage into the city’s emergency response plans. The project team worked closely with stakeholders to overcome regulatory, financial, and technical barriers and create a roadmap for deploying solar+ storage for resilience both locally and nationally.

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