The Obama Administration has announced a new goal that would see 1 gigawatt of solar installed for low and moderate income families in the US by 2020.
Among the activities to achieve the goal will be the promotion of innovative financing mechanisms, boosting technical assistance for states and communities and scaling up workforce training through the Solar Training Network. The latter will build on the USA’s significant solar workforce, which had already reached 300,000 workers by early this year.
A number of government agencies will be involved in the scheme, along with the private and philanthropic sectors.
Under Clean Energy Savings For All, households will be able to install solar panels or other energy efficiency measures and pay no up- front cost, paying for the installation through the savings on energy bills.
For those who can’t install solar power systems, e.g. renters, a network of community solar farms will be established.
Additionally, a National Community Solar Challenge will fund communities up to $100,000 to develop innovative models to increase solar uptake and cut energy bills, particularly in low income communities.
“For the past 7 years America has become a global leader in clean energy and the fight against climate change,” says President Obama in a video promoting the new program. “A big reason why is the incredible progress we’ve made in harnessing the electricity from the sun.”
President Obama says since he took office, the cost of solar energy systems has been cut by more than 70%.
According to a White House release, solar electricity generation in the USA has increased 30 fold since the beginning of Barack Obama’s presidency, and solar jobs are growing 12 times faster than the rest of the economy.
“President Obama is committed to ensuring that every American family can choose to go solar and to cut their energy bills – and that every American community has the tools they need to tackle local air pollution and global climate change,” says the White House.
Closer to home, another solar program for low income households was announced in the ACT yesterday.
ACT Minister for the Environment and Climate Change Simon Corbell says the $2 million scheme has opened for registrations of interest.
A detailed project plan will be developed by September and the project is expected to be launched late this year or early in 2017 as part of the Actsmart Household suite of programs.
The pilot program will run for the next four years.