Yesterday, a national coalition made up of more than 220 organizations launched the 30 Million Solar Homes campaign. The campaign’s goal is to add enough rooftop and community solar energy to power 30 million homes across the U.S. within the next five years. The coalition estimates the plan will create three million good-paying jobs, lower energy bills by at least $20 billion a year and cut total annual greenhouse gas emissions by 1.5%.
The coalition released a list of 15 federal policy recommendations to achieve the campaign’s 30 million solar homes goal, some of which include:
- Making solar tax incentives more equitable
- Providing more reliable low-income energy assistance through solar energy
- Supplementing low-income weatherization assistance with solar energy
- Funding solar projects in marginalized communities
Solar United Neighbors, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ISLR) and the Initiative for Energy Justice are leading the 30 Million Solar Homes campaign.
The centerpiece of 30 Million Solar Homes is to rapidly and massively scale programs that help low-income families benefit from solar. The federal government spends billions of dollars every year to help families pay their energy costs. Still, this only serves less than a fifth of the eligible population, according to a press release. Funding rooftop and community solar access for these households would provide long-term financial relief and reduce the need for annual energy bill assistance.
Increasing federal energy assistance funding and using funding that isn’t dedicated to direct bill assistance would ensure energy bill assistance is not reduced from current levels. This funding can be allocated through existing programs such as the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).
Over the coming months, the campaign will seek to educate lawmakers and the Biden-Harris Administration about the benefits of distributed solar energy.
“Cutting carbon emissions is vital and also not enough on its own,” said Subin DeVar, Initiative for Energy Justice Co-Founder. “We need to build an equitable energy system. This means giving individuals the power to control where their electricity comes from and to tap into the wealth, health, good jobs, and other benefits of a regenerative economy.”
“Communities that have faced the most harm from the utility-run energy system deserve to benefit from a new one,” said John Farrell, ISLR Co-Director, adding “30 Million Solar homes will let folks choose a better future; rural communities, urban communities, and communities of color.”
“The promise of distributed energy – the ability to produce solar power and store it at your home, business or in your community – is expansive. So are the benefits, which include electricity bill savings and installation jobs that cannot be exported,” said Suzanne Leta, head of policy and strategy at SunPower. “The Biden/Harris administration and Congress can take quick action that will turn this promise into a reality, spurring greater access to the benefits for customers and job seekers most in need.”
The more than 220 organizations in the coalition represent organizations focused on energy equity, climate, business, environmental, faith and public health. Some signers include Appalachian Voices, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and businesses including Sunrun, SunPower and Sunnova.
The complete list of signatories can be found here.