Biden announces initiatives to expand solar power access and create jobs

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New Biden administration guidelines could help provide cheaper solar energy to 4.5 million families.

The Biden administration on Wednesday announced that it is issuing new guidelines designed to help an estimated 4.5 million families get access to solar power for their homes, lowering their energy costs. The administration also announced that it would be using the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden in 2021, to support efforts to hire people to build out projects generating solar energy.

A release from the Department of Housing and Urban Development detailed guidance being sent to those managing HUD assisted-living properties on how to give residents the option of using community solar for their power needs instead of traditional power provided by local monopolies.

"With this guidance, HUD sets the stage for 4.5 million families to reap the benefits of community solar which, on average, can save families 10% per year on their electric bills," the release noted.

Community solar programs allow people who may not live in properties where solar panels can be directly installed to nonetheless get access to solar power. Those customers can then receive credits to their electric bill that are available to owners of traditional homes equipped with solar panels in many areas.

The guidelines from the Biden administration expand the pool of potential solar power customers to include lower-income households in the HUD system, who often face multiple economic obstacles.

Currently there are 41 states that have community solar installations, and the number has continued to increase over the past few years. The solar option introduces competition in areas where local energy companies traditionally have a monopoly on providing power. Community solar has led to lower costs through competition for customers.

Additionally, the Biden administration announced that $10 million is going to be used to fund projects aimed at building up solar power resources, seeding the growth of a solar power workforce across the country. The Department of Energy said that the investment is being funded through the infrastructure law.

Along with lower energy costs, solar power has the benefit of being a cleaner source of energy than traditional power.

Solar power production produces less greenhouse gas, a major contributor to global climate change, and also consumes less water than the production of power using traditional carbon-based sources.

The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has recommended that governments incentivize the use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind as a way to lower emissions and check global temperature increases.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.