Obama administration wants solar for all US families

President Obama announced a new initiative on Tuesday that will make it easier for American families to go solar and cut their energy bills, especially those with low to moderate incomes.

The Obama administration has announced that it will work closely with state authorities to bring 1 gigawatt of solar energy to low- and moderate-income families across the US by 2020.

The Clean Energy Savings For All Initiative is a new cross-government partnership between the Departments of Energy (DOE), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Agriculture (USDA), Health and Human Services (HHS), Veteran’s Affairs (VA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Its objective is to increase access to solar energy and promote energy efficiency across the US. Its target of bringing 1 GW of solar to low- and moderate-income families by 2020 is a 10-fold increase and expansion of Obama’s earlier Climate Action Plan to install 100 MW of renewable energy on federally assisted affordable housing by 2020, according to a White House statement.

The new initiative will use innovative financing models and technical support for states and communities across the US to reach its goals. It also calls for training programmes to enable low-income and minority communities to take advantage of the new jobs that are being created in the clean energy sector.

To help achieve the 1 GW goal, the DOE is developing a Community Solar Challenge that will award up to USD 100,000 in cash prizes and technical assistance to teams across the US to develop innovative models to increase solar deployment and cut energy bills, such as shared solar systems of 2 MW or less with 540 per cent low- and moderate-income subscribers.

According to the White House, there are now more than 120 new commitments from the private, state, local and philanthropic sectors across the US to support the deployment of solar energy in low- and moderate-income communities and promote community solar and energy efficiency. These latest commitments bring the total amount of commitments secured to more than USD 800 million in investments and more than 491 MW of solar power.


Image credit: U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Brian Ybarbo

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