Cárdenas Low Income Solar Legislation Included in E&C Infrastructure Package
Today, legislation introduced by U.S. Representatives Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MI), and Barbara Lee (D-CA), was included in the Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats’ Leading Infrastructure For Tomorrow’s (LIFT) America Act. The Low Income Solar Act aims to help low-income families access solar energy opportunities. The LIFT America package includes Democratic priorities for much needed safe, smart, and efficient infrastructure for today and tomorrow.
“As our country continues to invest in clean energy technology, we need to ensure these opportunities are available to those who can benefit from them most,” said Rep. Cárdenas. “This legislation is a win-win. It helps low income families save money, and it reduces our dependence on energy means that harm our environment. I was proud to introduce this legislation, and I appreciate its inclusion in the LIFT America package.”
“Solar energy is vital to reversing dangerous global warming and reducing the health impacts of air pollution, but we need to make sure that all Americans have access to this clean energy resource,” said Rep. Ellison. “The Low Income Solar Act encourages innovative solar installation and financing models that will help bring the benefits of solar to low income households.”
“I am proud to be introducing the Low Income Solar Act with Congressmen Tony Cárdenas and Keith Ellison,” said Rep. Lee. “This legislation will empower low-income Americans to live more sustainably and save money by installing solar panels on their homes. It also provides vital resources necessary for job training. This bill is a critical step toward reducing fossil fuel consumption while ensuring economic and environmental justice for all, especially for low-income communities and communities of color."
Solar energy is becoming an increasingly economical energy source for American households. However, many low-income families who would benefit the most from a reduction in their electricity bills are not taking advantage of this affordable, sustainable energy source because of a combined lack of access to financing options and living under a roof that cannot support a solar panel. One report by George Washington University estimates that households making less than $40,000 account for just 5 percent of all solar installations.
The Low Income Solar Act would establish a program at the Department of Energy to provide grant money to help reduce upfront costs of installing solar panels and loans to solar developers to connect low income families to solar energy. In addition, the legislation supports programs that aim to fulfill the need for solar in areas that have little or no solar development. The Low Income Solar Act also promotes women- and minority-owned small business and encourages development of solar in Appalachia, Indian tribal lands, and Hawaiian and Alaskan native communities. Lastly, the Low Income Solar Act aims to address several additional barriers to widespread adoption of solar power in communities that need it the most by providing funding for “soft costs" as well as solar workforce training and development.