Around the globe, solar energy is celebrating a growing popularity as a cleaner alternative to traditional power. In DC, a new solar panel program is bringing solar energy to 100,000 low-income households by 2032, which will cut their annual electricity costs by half and launch green job training programs to boot. This comes on the heels of the District’s groundbreaking legislation signed by Mayor Muriel Browser last year that promises to expand the benefits of solar power on a citywide and community scale.
Not only is the District joining the ranks of other states and cities with aggressive renewable energy goals, but it’s staunchly leaving its mark on the green trail by turning on solar electricity for hundreds of low-income homes with Solar Works DC program, intended to help residents to overcome financial hurdles that prevent so many people from harnessing the power of the sun.
DC’s new solar panel program will help low-income families save $600 a year
Over the next 3 years, 300 qualifying low-income single family homes will get solar panels installed on their roofs by GRID Alternatives, a nonprofit that provides solar technology to communities living on a fixed income. Additionally, 200 residents will enter a job training program to develop valuable skills needed in sectors like installation, manufacturing, sales and distribution, project development, and operations. With an average salary for solar installers of $26 per hour, the job census released by The Solar Foundation reported that the District’s green sector is growing at 18% annually, and it’s expected to increase at 26% this year.
DC has a goal to get half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2032 as part of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Expansion Act signed last year.
How low-income solar power impacts everyone
When you factor in the effects associated with solar energy, it’s important to take a step back and look at the big picture. It’s not just homeowners that reap the benefits of low-income solar electricity – its positive rewards affects rural development, communities, economy, and our environment.
- Bolster savings and household budget. Homes on a fixed budget spend an average of 10% of their income on electricity, according to a recent analysis by Groundswell, which is four times higher than the average consumer. Offsetting the cost of electricity with solar energy can help with low-income family budgets constituting education, food, housing, medical expenses, etc.
- Stimulate local economy and job opportunities. The solar industry recorded over 260,000 Americans employed in 2016 (a 25% increase from the previous year). Expanding solar power delivers vast socio-economic benefits, which is of vital importance.
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