The White House has just pledged to make solar power accessible to a much wider range of Americans.
This pledge is a package of initiatives that will do much to broaden access to solar for millions of renters and low income communities. Federally subsidized, solar ready homes are a part of this plan as well as increased access to federally insured renewable energy loans.
Here is a shocking statistic that shows that many Americans are still unaware of how affordable solar is – of the 645,000 homes and businesses that have gone solar, about 5 percent earn less than $40,000 per year. This unfortunately would lead many to think that solar is not affordable for lower income homeowners. Most 10 year solar loans would have homeowners paying about what they currently do, sometimes less.
The first part of the plan calls for 300 megawatts of solar power capacity for federally subsidized housing by 2020. This is three times the amount originally slated. Another part of the initiative calls for $520 million from the private sector, state and local governments for low-income solar projects and energy efficiency improvements. Much of these programs fall under the new category of “community solar projects.”
This new solar commitment helps The President achieve his promise of training and adding 75,000 workers for the solar power industry. An addition of such a substantial number of workers is not a tall order when one considers that the solar industry is growing ten times as fast as the overall economy. This plan also helps support the White House’s commitment to lowering carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030.
The President is not the only one supporting the growth of solar power. Senator Bernie Sanders has introduced legislation to help lower income families gain access to solar power. “Families across this country struggle to pay electricity bills and access to solar energy can help reduce these costs.” The senator knows how affordable solar is now and that it is possible that all Americans can use it to save money. He also mentioned how the poor spend a significant percentage of their income on basic needs like food and electricity.
Community solar projects are bound to become a major part of the solar power revolution. The fact is that millions of people either do not own their rooftops or they are not suitable for solar. Solar power technologies are versatile enough to still be able to provide access for those who can’t install their own solar panel systems.
While homeowners still stand to benefit the most, it’s great to know that soon we will all be able to be a part of a clean energy society.