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Obama, Sanders propose boosting solar energy for low, moderate-income Americans

Lucas Mearian | July 13, 2015
Obama sets a goal of adding 300MW of solar power for subsidized housing.

"It has never been cheaper to avoid dangerous climate change, create jobs, reduce fuel import bills and future-proof our energy system with renewables," Adnan Amin, director-general of IRENA, said earlier this year.

However, many low-income families who would benefit the most from a reduction in their electricity bills are not taking advantage of solar because of a combined lack of access to financing options, as well as having homes with roofs that cannot support a solar panel, Sanders said.

"While the cost of solar panels has gone down in recent years, it is still out of reach for millions of low-income families that need it the most," Sanders said. "Families across this country struggle to pay electricity bills and access to solar energy can help reduce these costs."

The Low Income Solar Act would prioritize loans for woman- and minority-owned small businesses and set aside funding for developing solar arrays in Appalachia, Indian tribal lands and Alaskan native communities.

According to Sanders, while low-income families are the hardest hit by rising utility prices, they are also the hardest hit by the impacts of climate change. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the poor spend more than 60% of their income on basic necessities including electricity and food, compared to less than 45% for wealthy families.

"The scientific community tells us very clearly if we're going to reverse climate change and the great dangers it poses for the planet we must move aggressively to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to sustainable energy," Sanders said. "We can achieve this goal, save families money and protect the planet for future generations."

 

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