Obama Announces Solar Plan for Low Income Communities

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First it was free phones and free internet.   Now Obama has announced a financial assistance plan for disadvantaged communities who want to go solar.

A “Fact Sheet” released by the White House states: “The Obama Administration is committed to addressing climate change, promoting clean energy, and creating good paying jobs.  That is why the Administration is announcing a new initiative to increase access to solar energy for all Americans, in particular low- and moderate- income communities, while expanding opportunities to join the solar workforce.”

Through “executive actions and private sector commitments” the White House pledges to help make solar available to all Americans, including renters, who “lack the startup capital to invest in solar.”

It says Obama has a goal to train 75,000 workers to enter the solar industry by 2020.  Some of the executive orders included in the deal are:

Setting a goal to install 300 megawatts of renewal energy in federally subsidized housing.

Providing technical assistance to make it easier to install solar on affordable housing – to be implemented by HUD.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will make it easier to borrow up to $25,000 for solar and energy-efficient improvements “by cutting red tape.”   The program would allow families to make investments in solar without any costs upfront and the costs would be tacked on to their property taxes, a proposal that has been resisted by home mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, says the Washington Examiner.

The Obama administration announced funding through AmeriCorps “that will deploy solar and create jobs in low-income communities.”  The fact sheet said by the end of the first year, the program will “help 200 economically disadvantaged individuals gain jobs in the solar industry.”

Obama’s solar program promises workforce diversity:

“Announcing a New Goal by the Solar Industry to Become the Most Diverse Sector of the U.S.  Energy Industry: The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is announcing a new goal of becoming the most diverse sector of the U.S.  energy industry, promoting greater workforce diversity – from gender, nationality, and race to veteran status, sexual orientation and beyond.”

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