President Obama announces plans to make solar more accessible to middle, low-income customers
- The Obama administration announced on Tuesday morning its intention to triple the capacity of solar and other renewable energy systems installed on federally-subsidized housing, aiming for 300 MW by 2030.
- The action is part of a slate of executive orders announced on Tuesday to increase access to solar, renewable energy, and efficiency upgrades. Other orders include the launch of a National Community Solar Partnership, bringing together public and private sector stakeholders to spearhead community solar adoption, and reforming Federal Housing Administration policies to make it easier for homeowners to go solar.
- The White House received over $520 million in financial commitments from states, cities, and the private sector to increase solar access for low and middle-income customers. The administration also announced more than 260 solar projects for low and middle-income customers are currently being planned and constructed today by public and private sector stakeholders.
In its 2013 Climate Action Plan, the Obama administration set the goal of installing 100 MW of solar and other renewables on federally subsidized housing by 2020. That aim was easily surpassed, with more than 185 MW of renewables installed at such housing today, so the administration is upping the ante and tripling the solar goal by 2030.
Central to that goal will be making solar financing more attractive. The administration announced in a fact sheet obtained by Utility Dive that the Federal Housing Administration is planning updates to its second-mortgage program to make it easier for homewowners to borrow up to $25,000 for solar and efficiency improvements.
But those loans will only go so far. Nearly half of Americans live in residences that are not suitable for rooftop solar due to shade, roof shape, or the fact that they rent. Community shared solar options allow customers to buy into larger solar arrays and could help unlock that other half of the market.
To that end, the administration announced it will launch the National Community Solar Partnership to unlock access to solar for the other half of the market. The administrations plans issue a new guide that aggregates program designs and questions about shared solar projects from across the nation, with aims to help support states in developing community shared solar programs.
- The New York Times White House Solar Plan Aims at Low- and Middle-Income People
- PV Tech Obama pledges 300MW of solar for affordable housing by 2020
- The Washington Examiner White House boosts solar power incentives for low-income residents
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