It’s estimated that a new solar photovoltaic system is installed every four minutes. However, thanks to new government initiatives, that number is likely to dramatically increase.
On Tuesday, July 7, the White House revealed a number of new measures to broaden access to the fastest growing source of energy in the U.S., solar energy. The new measures aim to make solar power more accessible to broader groups of Americans, including middle- and low-income families and those who rent rather than own their home.
The measure includes a new initiative to bolster “community solar” projects across the country — programs in which multiple different homes or individuals are supplied energy from a single solar installation — with emphasis on delivering solar power to low- and middle- income individuals and families. Also included in the measure is a pledge to install 300 megawatts of solar and other renewable energy sources in federally subsidized housing developments by 2020. Each megawatt represents enough solar energy to power roughly 164 homes.
The announcements came on the heels of a joint agreement between the United States and Brazil made a week a prior in which the United States will receive 20% of its total electricity from renewable energy sources by the year 2020. In order to achieve this goal, the U.S. will have to triple its renewables beyond their current levels.
Growing concern over the accessibility of solar energy in addition to falling solar powers costs have prompted many of these measures for equal access.
“The rapid decline of solar panel costs in recent years has ushered in a solar boom that has not spread uniformly across the spectrum of U.S. household incomes,” a recent paper from the George Washington University Solar Institute noted. “Despite being more vulnerable to energy costs, lower income Americans have lagged behind more affluent households in adopting solar and realizing its numerous benefits.”