Today (Sept. 18) the Obama Administration announced a series of steps to increase solar in the U.S. and promote energy efficiency. The new steps are partly a result of a Solar Summit the administration geld with numerous states earlier this year and come a week before the international summit on climate change. But they’re also far-ranging and include future actions that will be taken to increase solar deployment in the U.S. while decreasing the costs of solar.
The newly announced projects—540 in all across rural areas of the U.S.—include 240 solar power projects. The administration will invest $68 million through the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) in the projects.
Also as part of the Solar Summit the White House gained commitments from 50 companies, states, communities, and multifamily housing leaders across the country to deploy onsite solar energy and improve energy efficiency. “The commitments represent more than 35 megawatts of solar deployed—enough energy to power thousands of homes—as well as energy efficiency investments that will lower energy bills for more than 400 million square feet of buildings,” the White House said.
The White House added that between this announcement and an announcement the White House made in May, more than 350 private and public sector have committed to deploy 885 megawatts of solar and improve the energy efficiency of more than 1.4 billion square feet of buildings.
The White House also announced a new solar training program aimed at training veterans to install solar power. The administration is creating the new veteran job training pilot through DOE’s Solar Instructor Training Network. The pilot will take place on up to three military bases this fall in an attempt to train at least 50,000 new solar installers by 2020.
The White House also announced that the Department of Energy released and updated Guide to Federal Financing for Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy Deployment. The guide shows which financing programs are available through which federal agencies. DOE also is introducing Solar Powering America at solar.energy.gov, which the White House called a “one stop shop” to provide access a wide range of federal resources to drive solar deployment.
To make solar more accessible to low-income housing the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Community Planning and Development (CDP) office affirmed that Section 108 funding can be used for clean energy like solar power and energy efficiency projects. HUD also is creating a renewable energy toolkit intended for Community Planning and Development grantees.
In addition to other support for solar, the White House also said it is holding a meeting in October to discuss driving investments to the solar industry. And that DOE's SunShot Catalyst business plan competition is accepting applications to find ways to reduce the soft costs of solar power through November 7, 2014.Tweet