Solar energy created jobs 10 times faster than any other industry last year, so it is no wonder the Obama administration puts solar at the forefront of their alternative energy plans. Their new initiative will help low-and-median-income families afford solar systems in their houses, and also will provide new jobs in the solar sector.
To help solar become an everyday energy source, it needs to be accessible to everyone. Even though residential solar costs are going down, it is still not feasible for the majority of Americans. To address this, the plan focuses on helping people install solar panels and creating new solar projects:
The initiative creates a National Community Solar Partnership to find a way to make solar useful for those who do not have the roof space to install enough solar panels, an estimated 50% of private and commercial buildings.
For houses subsidized by the federal government, the Obama administration solar initiative includes assistance in installing solar panels. The government wants each of these houses to have a solar capacity of 300 megawatts.
Local businesses, including both power companies and housing authorities, agreed to over 260 solar projects in over 20 states. Many of these projects aim to make solar more affordable.
$520 million was invested by private philanthropic and financial entities to increase energy efficiency and solar accessibility for low-and-median-income individuals.
To create new jobs, Obama’s solar plan includes both public and private involvement:
The plan increases funding for AmeriCorps, so that the philanthropic group can bring solar energy and solar jobs to cities where it is underused.
There will also be increased job training and education on the subject of solar energy.
Many solar companies themselves have gotten involved in the initiative, and state that they are working toward becoming the energy industry with the most diversity as they hire more people.
Obama’s solar plan will affect many people, so if you’d like to go solar, but can’t afford it, there might be new opportunities in your neighborhood soon.
Image (c) Julie Jacobson