New Fed Initiative to Help More Americans Adopt Solar Power

Adopting solar power may soon become possible for more U.S. residents, thanks to a new program the federal government recently launched.

The Clean Energy Savings for All Americans program is a partnership among several government agencies that aims to give more American families the opportunity to go solar. The program will facilitate a variety of initiatives designed to make it easier for homeowners of all income levels to take advantage of photovoltaic power.

The program’s ultimate goal is to bring a total of 1 gigawatt of solar power to low- and middle-income households by 2020.

Unlocking PACE So More Homeowners Can Adopt Solar Power

Property-assessed clean energy (PACE) financing allows homeowners to use their property value as loan collateral for buying a solar power system.

This type of financing has helped countless businesses and homeowners to install photovoltaic systems. However, due to red tape involving the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Association (Freddie Mac), many low- and middle-income Americans were previously unable to take advantage of PACE financing.

With the Clean Energy Savings for All Americans initiative, this situation is changing.

New guidelines state that future PACE loans will be insured through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Veterans Administration (VA). Thanks to this change, many more homeowners in low-to-moderate income brackets will be able to adopt solar power with no upfront costs, paying back their loans over time through their property taxes.

Finding Ways to Help Low-Income Communities Adopt Solar Power

In the past, low-income communities have been slower to adopt solar power because of the cost. In an effort to help more homeowners in disadvantaged areas make the transition, the Department of Energy (DOE) has launched the Community Solar Challenge.

Private, volunteer teams in dozens of communities across the country will work to develop innovations that can boost solar deployment and lower electricity bills for local homeowners. For their hard work, the DOE is awarding up to $100,000 in cash prizes and technical assistance to the teams.

Overcoming Even More Barriers to Solar Energy Adoption

Every dollar spent on making a home more energy-efficient can potentially lower the cost of photovoltaic system installation by $3 to $5.

For lower-income homeowners, however, coming up with the money to make energy-efficient home improvements can be difficult. To address this problem, the DOE and the Department of Health and Human Services are working together to help homeowners make these improvements and repairs.

The Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will provide access to funding for low-cost energy-efficient improvements.

Consumers in lower-income brackets face many barriers in switching to photovoltaic power. With the Clean Energy Savings for All initiative, the U.S. government hopes to eliminate many of these roadblocks.

To that end, more than 120 organizations across 36 states — including power companies, housing authorities and electricity co-ops — have committed to investing $287 million in photovoltaic power projects. These projects are all designed to provide low- and moderate-income communities and homeowners improved access to photovoltaic power.

Intermountain Wind & Solar serves commercial and residential customers in Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada and Utah. We specialize in helping our customers find the most cost-effective approach for making the switch to photovoltaic power. If you’re ready to break free of electricity bills, give us a call today.

We look forward to helping you make the switch to solar power.