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Council resolution urges money for low-income solar efforts

Monday, October 9, 2017 by Jack Craver

On Thursday, City Council approved a resolution that directs Austin Energy to try to direct $500,000 toward helping low-income homeowners and tenants install solar panels. The resolution, authored by Council Member Greg Casar, also called on staff to deliver a progress report at the end of February on its efforts. Casar had complained in the past that the city-owned utility’s renewable energy programs – funded by a charge that all customers pay – were not helping low-income customers to lower their utility bills. Instead, those taking advantage of subsidies to install solar panels tend to be better off, he has said. Council Member Jimmy Flannigan voiced skepticism of the resolution, saying that he believed the chief benefit of funding solar panels was to install as many as possible in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, rather than to help people lower their energy bills. The resolution passed, with only Flannigan and Council Member Ellen Troxclair opposed.

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