The current administration made a bold goal to install 300MW of new solar panels on federally subsidized low and moderate income communities by 2020 and to offer loans and toolkits that further incentivize solar adoption. Those in the solar industry know the progress that’s been made the last five years alone in terms of installations, utility adoption, product innovations, project cost and just overall interest in the commercial and residential markets. But an official push from the administration for more widespread solar adoption is further validation and maybe a sign of more to come. So, the keys of the initiative include:
– Launching a National Community Solar Partnership to unlock access to solar for the nearly 50 percent of households and business that are renters or do not have adequate roof space to install solar systems, including issuing a guide to support states developing community solar programs
– The 300 MW goal in federally subsidized housing as well as technical assistance to make it easier to install solar, including clarifying how to use Federal funding.
– Housing authorities, rural electric co-ops, power companies and organizations in more than 20 states across the country are committing to put in place more than 260 solar energy projects, including projects to help low and moderate income communities save on their energy bills and further community solar and
– More than $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 administration also announced the following executive actions and private sector commitments, including:
– AmeriCorps funding to deploy solar and create jobs in underserved communities
– Expanding solar energy education and opportunities for job training and
– The solar Industry is also setting its own, independent goal of becoming the most diverse sector of the U.S. energy industry, and a number of companies are announcing that they are taking steps to build a more inclusive solar workforce.
These new actions build on the current administrations goal to train 75,000 workers to enter the solar industry by 2020 and the Solar Ready Vets program that will train transitioning military personnel for careers in the solar industry at 10 military bases.