- Ahead of his speech at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas on Monday, President Obama unveiled a slate of new executive actions aimed at promoting growth in renewables and distributed energy, including new loan offerings and a reworked Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program.
- Under one new initiative, homeowners with loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) — typically lower income residents — will be able to access additional affordable financing options for home energy projects like rooftop solar and efficiency upgrades. The FHA will also allow homeowners to use FHA-insured loans to purchase properties with rooftop solar arrays deployed under the PACE Program.
- Among the other orders was a new $1 billion loan guarantee authority for distributed energy projects, approval of a new transmission line to deploy solar energy, and a new $24 million ARPA-E initiative aiming to double the amount of energy solar cells can produce, according to a White House fact sheet.
Fresh from his summer vacation, President Obama jumped into the climate debate with both feet, delivering a passionate speech on the future of renewable energy in the U.S. and releasing a slate of executive actions aimed at boosting renewables and distributed generation in particular.
With the addition of a new $1 billion loan guarantee program, the White House said in a fact sheet that more than $10 billion in guarantees are now available for innovative distributed energy projects. But perhaps more significant in the long term are changes to the PACE program aimed at allowing more Americans the chance to deploy solar with no money down.
Under the new FHA guidance, the administration will allow homeowners with mortgages it underwrites to purchase properties with solar panels deployed under the PACE program. Under PACE, homeowners can pay off energy upgrades over time on their property taxes. The new guidance will allow those with FHA loans to buy houses with PACE contracts and assume payment for the energy facility when ownership is transferred. Greentech Media has a good in-depth look at the PACE program changes here.
The administration also approved a new transmission line to deliver power from a 485 MW solar facility in Riverside County, CA; committed to installing 300 MW of renewables on federally subsidized housing by 2020; pledged to increase the share of renewables (excluding hydro) to 20% by 2030; and created a privatized housing solar challenge for the Department of Defense. A full list of the executive actions can be found on the White House website.