President Barack Obama is continuing the push for more solar energy into the mainstream as the White House revealed a handful of initiatives to make the energy source accessible to lower-income households.
Solar may fall in price year after year, but the majority of panels in homes are skewed towards the upper-classes of America. According to a George Washington University Solar Institute report, of the roughly 645,000 homes in the U.S. that have installed solar panels, less than 5 percent are households making less than $40,000 per year (As reported by Mother Jones).
The current administration stated that the new solar initiatives are a part of its endeavor to address climate change, promote clean energy and creating good paying jobs. But in that, “we must also work to expand opportunities for families to use cleaner sources of energy that can help households save on their utility bills,” the administration said.
On Tuesday, the Obama administration detailed its plan to reduce this particular energy disparity. In the launching of the National Community Solar Partnership, a goal was set 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 developing community solar programs.
In addition, the press release announced the goal of installing 300 megawatts of renewable energy in federally subsidized housing. This is nearly triple the previous goal for 2020 set by President Obama. The White House stated that 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. This includes projects to help low and moderate income communities save on their energy bills and further community solar programs.
The White House noted that in 2014, the United States brought online as much solar energy every three weeks as it did in all of 2008, and the solar industry added jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy. Since the beginning of 2010, the average cost of a solar electric system has dropped by 50 percent.