On July 7, 2015, the Obama administration announced a plan to increase access to solar for middle- and low-income Americans. The multifaceted strategy sets a goal of 300 megawatts of installed solar energy in federally subsidized housing, creates a National Community Solar Partnership to help states develop community solar programs, and invests in a diverse and inclusive solar workforce.
Fresh Energy has been tackling issues related to multifamily housing and energy efficiency for several years, and has specifically identified the low-income and affordable housing community as a sector with massive potential for solar energy. Most recently, at a June 17 meeting organized in cooperation with Aeon, Fresh Energy helped gather a broad set of stakeholders to encourage affordable housing developers to pursue community solar as a valuable energy option for low- income residents. Among other benefits, community solar would allow low-income residents to take advantage of stable energy costs and significantly reduce the disproportionate pollution levels often found in such communities.
Community solar allows low-income residents the opportunity to invest in a clean energy economy, and President Obama’s initiative could bolster the progress already being made in Minnesota and around the country. As this bold plan continues forward, Fresh Energy will continue to work with housing partners throughout the state to bring community solar to a broader community.