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Hispanics Face Increasingly High Costs for Solar Power in the U.S.

For Hispanic Heritage Month, the public should be aware that Hispanics in the United States face challenges when it comes to affordable energy among all sources. One of the ongoing issues in the Hispanic community is affordable access to home solar panels, for example. PV Magazine published an article in 2020, “Investing in equitable access to solar energy for Hispanic communities,” which highlights the struggles Hispanic communities in the United States experience when accessing solar power. At the outset, solar panels are expensive to purchase. Moreover, many factors become exclusionary when acquiring solar panels, one of which is home ownership. You must own the property to have the energy-saving technology attached to your residence. This practice of only allowing homeowners the right to access solar panels excludes individuals who rent a property. A second obstacle that prevents many Hispanics from opting into programs that provide solar panels is good credit. Developing good credit in low to moderate Hispanic income households is difficult.

For many in the Hispanic community having access to solar panels would provide savings on energy costs. This savings through solar panels would have a direct return on investment. For many communities in the United States, energy is the most expensive line item in a family’s monthly budget, behind rent or a mortgage. Yet through the savings families would receive from expanding their solar footprint, that money could be spent on food and education while also being used to address other quality of life issues. A 2019 study by various academics at UC Berkeley and Tufts stated that those who identify as Hispanic installed rooftop solar at a 30% less rate than other minority groups. If public officials could make it a priority to make renewable energy more affordable, it could be a step in the right direction for Hispanic communities across the country.