Obama administration announces plans to boost solar uptake in USA

America’s Obama administration has revealed plans to triple the amount of rooftop solar installed on low-income housing, and boost the development of community solar projects, giving renters and apartment dwellers increased access to solar power.

The plans, announced on Tuesday, include clearer guidelines on how local housing authorities can access federal funds to install PV, as well as the $520 million-plus in new capital from foundations, local governments and social impact investors, set aside to pay for solar and energy-efficiency projects for lower-income communities.

The measures are designed to expand solar on low-income housing to over 300MW, or enough to power roughly 50,000 homes. 

They will also facilitate the development of “community solar” on public property, to supply clean power to renters or others without an available rooftop.

The moves, which will also provide a welcome boost to the US solar industry, were described by Barack Obama’s senior climate advisor, Brian Deese, as “part of a bigger-picture effort to try to drive innovation” toward cleaner, low-carbon energy solutions.

And they have been applauded all the way over here in Australia, with solar lobby group Solar Citizens calling on the Australian government to introduce similar measures.

“Basically, Obama is saying that, as a government, we understand that solar power is the way of the future, and we’re going to make investment and policy decisions to support that,” said Solar Citizens spokesperson Dan Scaysbrook, in an interview with RenewEconomy on Wednesday.

“We need the (Australian federal) government to catch up.”

© 2015 Solar Choice Pty Ltd