The Obama Administration introduced the Clean Energy Savings For All Initiative today (July 19), which aims to expand access to solar power and energy efficiency to low and moderate income communities throughout the country. The initiative will give lower income people and their communities access to 1 gigawatt of solar power by 2020, according to the administration.
“Today we’re offering even more families and communities the chance to choose cleaner sources of energy that save you money and protect the planet for all of us,” Obama explained in a video about the new opportunities. “We’re making it easier for American homeowners to take advantage of a new program called PACE.”
“If you make the switch to solar, you can now install solar panels or retrofit your home to make it more energy efficient at no up-front cost all by paying for them through the future savings on your energy bills. you can go solar right now,” Obama said. “You can save money on your energy bills right away and in the process you can help America lead the world in the fight against climate change and a cleaner safer planet for our kids.”
PACE refers to property assessed clean energy financing through which solar or energy efficiency enhancements are initially financed through an assessment on a homeowner’s property tax. It’s then repaid as part of the initial agreement over time and when paid off the assessment on the property is lifted.
Obama has done more than any previous US President to promote and help bring down the cost of clean energy and this is another of his administration’s efforts to do more. The new initiative brings together the Departments of Energy (DOE), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Agriculture (USDA), Health and Human Services (HHS), Veteran’s Affairs (VA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to increase access to solar energy and energy efficiency. The initiative will promote newer financing mechanisms, bolster technical assistance for states and communities and scale up workforce training, according to the administration.
“For Americans looking to reduce their monthly utility bills and gain more independence in their energy generation, today’s announcement is truly empowering,” said Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Interim President Tom Kimbus. “The industry also recognizes the efforts to cut red tape, as one of SEIA’s top goals is breaking down market barriers to solar market penetration.”
Kimbus added that PACE is a critical component. “This guidance makes it easier for homeowners who go solar using PACE financing to use Federal Housing Authority (FHA) mortgage insurance and Veterans Affairs (VA)-insured mortgages,” he asserted. “Strong public policy allowing more veterans and low and moderate income American households to go solar mirrors the commitment of the solar industry to these same communities.”