Reduce Electricity Bills and Create Clean Energy Jobs
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced the five states and Washington, D.C. that will support the Community Solar Subscription Platform Pilot to connect families to solar power and reduce electricity bills through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and other low-income assistance programs .
The Biden-Harris administration, through the U.S. Department of Energy, has launched new initiatives to connect families to more reliable clean energy, lower electricity bills and create well-paying jobs in the domestic solar industry. The DOE also announced $10 million from President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act to jump-start solar energy careers in underserved communities. The ads support President Biden’s goal of achieving a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035 while creating well-paying jobs across the country.
“Every American community, especially those facing disproportionate energy loads, deserves the economic and health benefits that come with increased access to clean, affordable energy,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. . “That’s why the DOE is working across the federal government to open up community solar power that will quickly reduce electric bills for households that need it most and create well-paying jobs in every pocket of the community. ‘America.”
Connecting communities to solar energy and reducing electricity bills
HHS’s LIHEAP program keeps families safe by helping eligible households with their heating and cooling energy costs, bill payment assistance, energy crisis assistance, weather protection and energy-related home repairs. Transitioning to solar power can help households across the country save money on their electric bills, but many Americans have been unable to access these benefits. Community solar, which allows multiple customers to benefit from a shared solar power system, offers a solution for people who cannot get rooftop solar panels. DOE’s community solar goal is to power 5 million homes and provide 20% savings on a subscriber’s energy bills, compared to an average of 10% today.
The Community Solar Subscription Platform is designed to connect community solar projects with verified cost savings to households participating in government-run assistance programs like LIHEAP. The initial pilot will be supported by the states of Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Washington, DC. These states will provide feedback, coordination, and data to test the platform’s operability, security, and performance. The DOE has prioritized working with states that have existing programs to support low-income community solar development so that if successful, participants will see significant savings on their electric bill, including:
- 20% in Illinois, New Jersey, New York and New Mexico
- 50% in Washington, DC and Colorado
The DOE estimates that this could result in utility bill savings of up to:
- $240 million in Colorado
- $300 million in Illinois
- $175 million in New Jersey
- $30 million in New Mexico
- 400 million in New York
- $40 million in Washington, D.C.
“I am proud to join the White House, Department of Energy, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Department of Health and Human Services in supporting the Community Solar Subscription Platform. This innovative and exciting project is helping reduce electricity bills and save people money through expanded and streamlined access to affordable community solar subscriptions. This initiative will save Coloradians millions on their electric bills each year, reducing energy loads statewide. It’s money better spent on groceries, rent, or taking the family out for fun. We are thrilled to support this effort to save people money and accelerate Colorado’s path to 100% renewable energy,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis.
“Community solar programs are essential to the expansion of renewable energy in the state of Illinois and across the country. That’s why I’m proud to continue our state’s leading work to grow the clean energy economy by embracing the National Community Solar Partnership’s LIHEAP community solar subscription platform. By supporting low-income communities who wish to participate in this program, we can increase long-term energy efficiency and provide efficient access to cost-effective solar power for households across our state that need it most. In Illinois, we know an equity-centered approach that puts consumers and the climate first and produces results that will leave our children with a safer world,” added Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. .
“Through our participation in the Community Solar Subscription Platform project, New Jersey is helping families across the state reduce their energy costs. As advisor to the Department of Energy on the design and operation of the platform, New Jersey will have the opportunity to ensure the platform removes barriers to critical clean energy resources and benefits residents. most vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis. It is crucial collaborations like these that will help us provide every member of the community with many opportunities to reap the benefits of a clean energy future,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
“New Mexico is excited to participate in this pilot program, which builds on my administration’s efforts to make solar energy accessible to everyone. Our LIHEAP – eligible customers will see 30% savings – this is a game-changer for New Mexico families,” said New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
“New York is the first community solar market in the United States and has set an example of how states across the country can cost-effectively provide clean, affordable solar power to millions of families facing the burden of rising energy costs. We are proud to work with President Biden, his administration, and the many partners in this collaboration to ensure our most underserved customers have access to this innovative new resource,” said New York Governor Kathy Hochul. .
“When we as a nation work together to achieve our climate goals, we have the ability to collectively move forward towards a better, greener and more sustainable future. We know that implementing community solar energy is essential to creating a future that supports healthy, renewable and sustainable living, and we are happy to join the effort. By working with homeowners, especially of affordable multi-family homes, and local businesses, we can ensure that our future is clean and resilient. We are proud of the work we do here in DC and we look forward to joining this national effort,” concluded Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.
DOE’s National Community Solar Partnership, HHS, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, National Energy Assistance Directors Association, and National Association of State Energy Officials collaborate on the Community Solar Subscription Platform.
The DOE also issued a Request for Information seeking feedback on the structure of the platform from community organizations, community solar subscription managers and developers, state and local governments, researchers, LIHEAP implementing organizations and others.
Create a Strong Solar Workforce
With the solar industry already more diverse than national averages, the Biden-Harris administration has invested $10 million through the bipartisan Infrastructure Act to ensure the future solar workforce is fair. , inclusive and benefits people from underserved communities who live in and around the projects. The DOE’s Solar Future Study estimates that the industry will need to create hundreds of thousands of good-quality jobs to meet decarbonization goals. These jobs should be accessible to workers from all walks of life, offer competitive wages and benefits, and provide opportunities for union membership.
The DOE’s Advancing Equity through Workforce Partnerships program will fund projects that support new workforce programs that bring together employers, training providers and unions to support pathways to the solar industry to recruit, train and retaining an inclusive workforce. These programs will be demand-driven, worker-centric and sector-based, and will utilize established workforce programs and resources, be sustainable and replicable, and prioritize energy justice. By assessing the regional labor market and the current and future needs of employers, multi-stakeholder project teams can help ensure optimal alignment between different training programs and real industry needs.
Launch of the Community Solar Prize Competition
To encourage the development of equitable community solar projects and programs, the DOE is also launching the Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar, a new awards program that will recognize community solar best practices that increase equitable access and ensure that the benefits accrue to subscribers and their communities. Up to five finalists can win a Sunny Award and prizes of $10,000 per team.