The US Government has announced a new initiative to increase access to solar energy for all Americans, in particular low and moderate income communities while expanding opportunities to join the solar workforce.
The Obama Administration has long been committed to addressing climate change and promoting clean, renewable energy while also creating well-paying jobs. As part of this commitment, the US Government has now announced a new initiative to increase access to solar power for all American citizens.
During the course of 2014, the US managed to bring online as much solar energy every three weeks as it did during the whole of 2008. As a result, the solar industry managed to create jobs in the industry ten times faster than the rest of the American economy. Since the beginning of 2010, the average cost of a solar PV system in the US has fallen by 50 percent.
The new actions and commitments announced by the government are intended to help continue scaling up solar for all American citizens, including those who rent, lack the start-up capital to invest in solar or do not have enough information on how to make the transition to solar energy.
The key components of the initiative include the establishment of a National Community Solar Partnership, a goal to install 300 MW of renewable energy in federally subsidised housing, a programme of solar energy installation in more than 20 states across the country and more $520 million in independent commitments from philanthropic and impact investors, states, and cities to advance community solar and scale up solar and energy efficiency for low and moderate income households.
The National Community Solar Partnership will unlock access to solar for the nearly 50 percent of households and businesses that either rent or who do not have adequate roof space to install solar systems. This will include the issue of a guide to Support States In Developing Community Solar Programs.
The 300 MW goal will include the provision of technical assistance in order to make it easier to install solar, including clarifying how to use Federal Funding.
The programme of solar energy installation will be undertaken by housing authorities, rural electric co-ops, power companies, and other organisations and will include projects to help low and moderate income communities save on their energy bills while also promoting and expanding community solar energy.
The government will also provide AmeriCorps funding to deploy solar and create jobs in underserved communities in addition to an expansion of solar energy education and opportunities for job training. These actions will build on the President’s goal to train 75,000 workers to enter the solar industry by 2020 and the Solar Ready Vets programme that will train transitioning military personnel for careers in the solar industry at ten US military bases.