Administration Unveils Solar Energy Access Initiative
The Obama administration recently announced a new initiative to increase access to solar energy for all Americans, in particular low- and moderate-income communities. Last year, the United States brought online as much solar energy every three weeks as it did in all of 2008. And since the beginning of 2010, the average cost of a solar electric system has dropped by 50 percent.
Here are the executive actions the administration will implement to scale up solar energy and decrease energy bills:
Setting goal to install 300 MW of renewable energy in federally subsidized housing. In the Climate Action Plan, the president set a goal of installing 100 megawatts (MW) of solar and other types of renewable energy in federally subsidized housing. The administration has already surpassed that goal, through commitments to install more than 185 MW of renewable energy. With the recent announcement, the administration is tripling its current goal and setting a new goal to install 300 MW of renewable energy on affordable housing by 2020, as well as expanding the goal to include community and shared solar installations.
Providing technical assistance to make it easier to install solar on affordable housing. HUD announced that it will offer direct technical assistance to affordable housing organizations making a commitment toward the administration’s new 300 MW goal. As part of this assistance, HUD is launching a website to provide policy guidance, tools, and other online resources to help advance solar deployment and the installation of other renewable energy in affordable housing. Housing organizations can make a commitment, request technical assistance, and view renewable energy resources on the advancing renewable energy in affordable housing page on the HUD Exchange.
Developing toolkit to boost states’ ability to use federal funding to deploy solar on affordable housing. To make it easier to use Section 108 Community Development Block Grant funds for solar energy systems, HUD is releasing a renewable energy toolkit for use by Community Planning and Development (CPD) grantees. The toolkit will provide program compliance information, tools, and case study examples to help communities integrate renewable energy components such as solar photovoltaic, solar hot water, and cogeneration into the program in an efficient, cost-effective, and impactful way by using CPD funds. This action builds on an announcement last year during which HUD’s CPD office affirmed that under current guidelines, Section 108 Community Development Block Grant funding can be used for clean energy and energy-efficiency projects.