The future of renewables in the U.S. is gleaming with incandescence after the White House announced its latest Solar Access Initiative which makes our domestic commitment to clean energy stronger than it has ever been. A tip of the cap is in order for President Obama as he continues to note that climate change is not only real, but that we must take immediate and concerted action. The Solar Access Initiative puts stride in the steps toward mass clean energy usage in the U.S.
Prior to a July 7 press release from the White House there were a myriad of obstacles restricting access to solar energy, with the primary barrier being cost. Picture California in 2007 when the cost per watt of solar energy was over $10! To put that in perspective, a 4 kW (4,000 watts) system for a 3-bedroom home would cost $40,000 to install! $40k is affordable for only a teensy percentage of people in this country; if we want to make an impact it will take more than 1% of us.
Fast forward to today where costs have plummeted and the technology has evolved tremendously. We are amidst a revolution and harnessing the energy of our sun is at the forefront, thanks, in large part, to the new initiative rolled out earlier this month.
Here is a quick rundown of what the Solar Access Initiative entails:
What is it: A National partnership has been forged in support of shared solar/solar gardens. 260 solar energy projects have been committed across 20 states. In excess of $520 million has been dedicated to advancing solar energy across the U.S.
Who it benefits: A goal of 300 megawatts (300,000 kW) to be installed in federally subsidized housing projects by 2020 will benefit low-income households who otherwise could not afford to reduce their carbon footprint. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is committed to providing technical assistance to help affordable housing organizations better understand how to use federal funding. Solar Ready Vets is a program which will actively administer solar industry training at 10 military bases. The U.S. workforce will see over 75,000 people trained in the solar industry by 2020, making “the most diverse sector of the U.S. energy industry” highly trained as well.
Why this matters: Granting access to solar gardens to a higher percentage of the general population opens up the discussion to a broader group, giving us a collective, resonate voice in the matter. Participation in a solar initiative aids our country’s stride towards clean energy. Not only is today’s population being granted a momentous opportunity, but future generations will have a fighting chance at harmonious existence with Mother Earth.
The timing of this initiative comes exactly one year after Rock the Earth announced its partnership with SolarCity in the July 2014 newsletter. We are so pleased to be at the forefront of the current clean energy revolution with an industry leader such as SolarCity. Our partnership, along with many others like the City Energy Project, will help ensure a bright future full of sunshine for all of us to bask in.