Today solar energy is becoming more accessible to low and moderate income households in Santa Fe thanks to two local environmentalists turned investors. Richard Khanlian and Ann Alexander have set out to make solar available to everyone.
Concerned with climate change and our unsustainable reliance on fossil fuel, Richard and Ann wanted to contribute to a better future for their children and grandchildren. Since putting solar on their homes, they’ve enjoyed the many advantages of solar. And now they are helping homeowners that would otherwise be unable to afford solar.
Once they had an idea in place and the funds to support it, the couple began looking for a partner to facilitate the program. They chose to work with Homewise to create the SOL (Solar Opportunity Loan) fund to provide long-term fixed rate loans for solar installations to low and moderate income households. “We want to make a meaningful statement with the SOL fund and provide clean energy options for everyone,” says Khanlian.
The program, which began in November 2014, is seeing results. Since inception the SOL fund has loaned out over $460,000 to help 18 families and individuals solarize their homes. Participants are single adults, single parents, and couples with children, all with incomes under 120% of Santa Fe’s area median income.
In addition to providing funds to support the program, Richard and Ann have also pledged a dollar-for-dollar match to contributions from other donors. “The goal is to encourage more people to donate so we can leverage our investments to grow the fund and help more people go solar,” says Alexander.
Their idea works. The program is aimed at reducing and eliminating the barriers that prevent low and moderate income households from investing in solar. Providing a long-term fixed rate financing option opens the door for many residents that are unable to make the large up-front investment and the energy and cost saving benefits are seen by those who need it the most.