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President Obama's Clean Energy Savings for All Plan

EmmamHowe MA, United States 0 Ratings 13 Discussions 8 Group posts

Posted by: EmmamHowe // Marketing/Green Policy Development

President Barack Obama made Environmental history on July 19th, as he announced a plan to bring more solar energy to American homes. The Clean Energy Savings for All Plan sets a monumental goal of bringing 1 gigawatt (GW) of solar to low- and moderate- income families by 2020. This goal is a 10 fold increase compared to the initial target President Obama set in his Climate Action Plan to install 100 megawatts of renewable energy on federally-assisted affordable housing by 2020. This new “Clean Energy Savings For All” initiative is especially promising as it is a cross-governmental partnership between the Dept of Energy (DOE), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the US dept of Agriculture (USDA), Health and Human Services (HHS), Veterans Affairs (VA), and the Environmental Protection agency (EPA), all in an attempt to bring cost-effective renewable energy sources to low and moderate income families and communities.

Key Points of The Initiative:

- HUD and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will provide communities further and easier access to Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. This will allow American homeowners, including low- and moderate- income households and veterans, to finance solar and energy efficiency improvements with no upfront cost, giving them the opportunity to pay back the cost over time through the savings they’ll shave off their electric bills.

- The DOE is developing a Community Solar Challenge that will award $100,000 to teams in communities across America, encouraging them to develop new solar models to cut communities’ energy bills by increasing the energy efficiency of solar technology.

- The HHS and DOE are providing technical assistance to Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) grantees, assisting them to understand how to use this money towards renewable energy projects

- The DOE is launching the Solar Training Network, which will help create a more inclusive workforce by connecting solar workforce trainers, solar employers, and individuals interested in working in the solar industry.

- EPA, DOE, and HUD are bringing people together to share best practices on how to finance and overcome barriers to creating healthier communities.

-In more than 36 states, over 120 housing authorities, electric co-ops, utilities, and organizations are
committing to investing $287 million to install over 280 megawatts (MW) of solar energy projects

“Over the past seven years America has become a leader in clean energy and the fight against climate change,” said President Obama in a video released by the white house commenting on the President’s new solar initiative. The President highlighted the fact that we generate over 30 times more solar energy than we did just eight years ago, incidentally cutting the cost of solar energy systems by more than 70%. He also points out that the Solar industry is bringing an abundance of jobs to America, 12 times faster than the rest of the economy. But the Clean Energy Savings For All plan means that “Solar panels are no longer for wealthy folks and those who live where the sun shines every day” but “they’re already a reality for Americans and communities across the country.”

The initiative’s focus on PACE financing helps bring solar to low-income families without any upfront cost. Since PACE financing operates like a mortgage or other long-term financing mechanism, PACE allows homeowners to benefit from energy improvements immediately and pay back the cost over time through property taxes. Also, even if the property is sold, the remaining PACE assessment will stay with the more energy efficient property and the next owner will become responsible for the remaining PACE assessment. Obama’s renewed PACE initiatives will not only serve to help low- and moderate- income Americans and veterans scale up solar, but they will also create more energy efficient homes, slash consumer energy bills as well as promote cleaner, more green communities across the US. You can check out the White House’s video on Solar here:

It is important to realize; however, that America’s work in promoting solar energy is not over, as solar power only represented 0.6 % last year of our nation’s electricity generation, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Though we are are the right track, especially with Obama’s promotion of furthering key financing innovations such as the PACE program. California governor Jerry Brown (D), believes that this will “unlock a significant sum of money, and help tens of thousands of homeowners actually be part of putting renewable energy in some form in their homes.” What do you think about Obama’s new and improved solar energy plan? Do you think we will be able to achieve the 1 GW goal by 2020? Comment below with your thoughts.

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