Nearly 645,000 American homes and businesses have gone solar as of 2014. But despite solar costs falling 45% since 2010 for residential customers, many low-income homeowners are being left out of the solar surge. The White House announced a new partnership with the Department of Energy yesterday that increases the availability of solar power to these Americans.
The National Community Solar Partnership will enable those who rent their homes or don’t have a suitable roof to reap the benefits of solar and receive credit on their utility bills. The partnership, which also includes the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Agriculture will build off of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Guide to Community Shared Solar, which provides a framework for the development of this model for solar deployment in communities, and provide technical assistance to make it easier to install solar. With nearly half of consumers and businesses unable to go solar, community solar’s growth potential is especially important to low-income communities.
In addition to bringing more community solar programs to low-income communities, SunShot is also continuing its focus on workforce development. With the U.S. solar industry seeing a 20% increase in workforce growth in the past two years, SunShot’s workforce training programs will continue to provide the industry with more in-demand workers by training people from low-income communities for new solar careers.