White House Takes Aim at Solar for Low- and Middle-Income Americans

08 July 2015 Renewable Energy Outlook Blog

The Obama administration announced on Tuesday a plan to grant greater access to solar energy production for all Americans, in particular low- and middle- income communities.

The White House announced that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will release information next month to provide building owners and business additional knowledge regarding incentives and policies for adding solar power.  HUD is also 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,” a White House press release stated.  The administration’s plans will also increase borrowing options and loan limits through a Federal Housing Administration program that will let people install solar panels at federally assisted or insured housing, and called for relaxing conditions through a federal program that allows homeowners to borrow money for energy efficiency and solar panel improvements.

Senior advisor to President Obama, Brian Deese, intimated that lack of sufficient credit for financing is a significant barrier for many Americans to enter the solar market.  Deese told reporters that there is still a “significant challenge in the scope and geographic reach of solar.”  The agreements common in the market have a tendency to prevent people with bad credit from installing solar systems, as the agreements typically require long-term financing plans for the installation and maintenance of the panels.

The administration’s new goal of installing 300 MW of renewable energy, primarily solar, at federally subsidized housing by 2020 is three times the previous target, which has already been surpassed.

For further information on this announcement, visit the White House fact sheet here.

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