TEPRI 2020 Outlook

Friends of TEPRI,

The radically-evolving energy sector presents us with the opportunity and the responsibility to ensure we serve those among us who are most vulnerable. Our mission at Texas Energy Poverty Research Institute is to inspire lasting solutions for low-income communities, and our research, data, and expertise give leaders the insight they need to develop the energy innovations of tomorrow.

In 2019, TEPRI was the leader in Texas developing effective and economic solutions to address energy poverty, and our members have a vested interest in continuing to research these issues, develop innovative ideas, test hypotheses, and deploy what works at scale. I’m proud of our progress, and I believe we will continue our upward trajectory in 2020. While still a small organization, we are in our most stable financial position yet. We are beginning to see results from the “seeds” we’ve planted over the last few years, and the growth and impact potential is becoming more clear. We’ve made meaningful progress towards our 2019-2021 Strategic Plan, and I expect this momentum to continue.

Learn more in our 2019 Year in Review.

It is with great pride that we release within this 2020 Outlook a scan of the work on the horizon for TEPRI. We hope you will partner with us to inspire lasting energy solutions for low-income communities.


Dana Harmon
Executive Director


Product & Program Development

TEPRI develops products and programs that are meant to empower low-income Texans through energy solutions. Our team is currently developing a geospatial visualization tool to enable decision-makers to incorporate our data into existing workflows. In addition, we are working with a team to design a community solar program demonstration project for the retail choice market that benefits low-income households. Another ambition for 2020 is to develop a model to leverage innovative financial products to increase deployment of solar and battery storage in opportunity zones.

Primary Data Collection

TEPRI will continue to gather data through quantitative surveys, qualitative interviews, and data sharing agreements for expanding our collective understanding of low-income communities and their relationships with energy. In our current project pipeline, this effort will include surveying rural Texas communities and energy providers to collect data on the current level of awareness of and access to recent and emerging energy technologies. In addition, we will collect data to yield insights into motivations, financial impacts, and behavioral impacts of participation in community solar program on participants receiving solar assistance in San Antonio. In addition to these efforts, our team is looking for partners and funders to help us develop a longitudinal community energy needs assessment to regularly assess energy poverty, including energy cost burden and tradeoffs, across Texas. This study will propose standard metrics by which utilities, regulators, and other stakeholders may monitor changes over time.

Research & Analysis

Our projects scheduled for this year include efforts to:

  • Analyze data collected from rural Texas communities and energy providers to better understand opportunities and barriers to clean energy across the state.
  • Support the development of a roadmap to deploy energy efficiency and rooftop solar in affordable residential buildings to reduce the energy affordability gap in Houston. We aim to explore opportunities to scale this project to other jurisdictions with additional partners and funders.
  • Leverage emerging scholarly research on advanced energy technology deployment to develop real world application models which benefit underserved markets.
  • Explore opportunities for electric vehicles to benefit low-income communities.

Outreach & Education

Through publications, stakeholder workshops and targeted communication, TEPRI will continue to educate and inform our members and energy stakeholders.  This year, we will share data and findings with utility executives and program administrators, implementers, housing providers, local governments, and community action agencies. Publications will include a white paper addressing the energy affordability gap and opportunities for energy efficiency and rooftop solar in affordable housing, a roadmap for the opportunity to increase equitable deployment of distributed energy resources, and a clean energy opportunities workshop for rural community leaders.

Convening & Collaboration

We will expand and continue to build and our network of stakeholders across Texas to represent energy services, housing, social services, and community-based organizations. Our goal is to represent at least 50% of Texas counties.  We will facilitate regional stakeholder gatherings to leverage expertise, share data, facilitate conversations, and enable collaboration. We are seeking funding to help develop and launch an interactive platform for TEPRI members to connect with peers and benefit from shared knowledge and resource.