February 13, 2015—The LIHEAP Clearinghouse released a four-page issue brief this week titled Renewable Energy and LIHEAP: Solar Targets Energy Burdens, which examines a few places in the LIHEAP statute that might help facilitate the use of LIHEAP funds for renewable energy projects.
Advocates for both the low-income community and those for renewable energy are increasingly discussing strategies to bridge the gap between their constituencies. While there are numerous types of renewable energy, much of the discussion focuses on solar energy, largely because the technology is becoming more widely used and more affordable. It also seems the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recognizes that renewable energy may be offered by LIHEAP grantees. In their current annual LIHEAP plans, grantees can check a box in the "Crisis Assistance" section to indicate they provide solar panels as assistance.
Many of the programs that have tried to make renewable energy available to the low-income community have combined federal, state, and even local monies. While LIHEAP has not been a central participant in many of these examples, it was integral to a fairly recent pilot program in California. LIHEAP also plays a supportive role in a renewable energy program in Minnesota.
Source: LIHEAP Clearinghouse