White House rolls out plan to boost solar, efficiency access for low-income groups
- The Obama Administration has unveiled a new cross government partnership known as the Clean Energy Savings For All Initiative (CESFA), combining efforts by several agencies to increase access to solar energy and promote energy efficiency, particularly in low- and moderate- income communities.
- The CESFA initiative aims to develop 1 GW of solar by 2020, as well as provide assistance with efficiency and conservation upgrades.
- This goal dramatically expands on an initial 100 MW target President Obama set in his Climate Action Plan, which would place solar resources on federally-assisted affordable housing.
The new initiative will bring together efforts of the Departments of Energy, Housing and Urban Development, The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Veteran’s Affairs and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Among the program's initiatives:
- HUD and Department of Veterans Affairs will issue new guidance for Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, outlining how properties with PACE assessments can be purchased and refinanced with Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance.
- The Department of Energy is developing a Community Solar Challenge to award teams in dozens of communities up to $100,000 to develop innovative models to increase solar deployment and cut energy bills.
- HHS and DOE will provide technical assistance to Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) participants on their ability to access up to a quarter of their annual LIHEAP funding for low cost energy efficiency improvements, including renewable energy.
- And more than 120 housing authorities, rural electric co-ops, power companies, and organizations in more than 36 states committed $287 million to develop more than 280 MW of solar energy projects.
DOE is also launching the Solar Training Network to will help create a more inclusive workforce. The program will connect solar workforce trainers, solar employers, and individuals interested in working in the solar industry.
"The Administration will work to ensure that every household has options to choose to go solar and put in place additional measures to promote energy efficiency," the White House said in a fact sheet on the new program.
Follow Robert Walton on Twitter