Biden Announces $7 Billion for Rooftop Solar on Earth Day

Expanding clean energy access to underserved communities nationwide

by Zain ul Abedin
Biden Announces $7 Billion for Rooftop Solar on Earth Day
© Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

On Earth Day, President Joe Biden is set to unveil a substantial $7 billion investment in grants aimed at bolstering residential solar energy projects, a move that will potentially benefit nearly a million low-income households across the United States, according to a recent announcement from the White House.

This initiative marks the beginning of a week dedicated to highlighting the Biden administration's ambitious efforts to combat climate change. The funding announcement will take place during Biden's visit to Prince William Forest Park in Triangle, Virginia.

In addition to revealing the solar grants, the President will also launch the American Climate Corps. This new program is designed to equip young people with the necessary skills for thriving in climate-related professions, aligning with the administration's focus on both environmental sustainability and job creation.

The timing of these initiatives is strategic as young voters, who show a heightened concern for climate issues, form a crucial demographic in the upcoming presidential race where Biden, a Democrat, is expected to challenge former President Donald Trump, a Republican.

The $7 billion, sourced from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Solar for All grant competition, is part of the landmark Inflation Reduction Act, celebrated as a pivotal piece of climate legislation under the Biden presidency.

The White House estimates that the program will generate 200,000 jobs and save participating households an average of $400 annually.

Solar Grants Target Inequality

The grants will be distributed among 60 state and local agencies along with various non-profits.

These organizations are tasked with aiding economically disadvantaged communities in accessing solar power, thus reducing their energy expenses. Notably, several recipients plan to extend these solar solutions to Native American households in states like Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado.

Historically, the high initial costs and structural living conditions have limited access to residential solar systems for lower-income Americans. However, this program is part of a broader Biden administration strategy to ensure that 40% of the benefits from federal clean energy investments reach these disadvantaged communities.

A senior administration official emphasized the initiative's inclusive nature, stating, "We're opening up a market where everybody, no matter their zip code or their economic background, can tap into the savings opportunity that clean energy represents." Moreover, Biden will announce the launch of the website, where prospective participants can explore 2,000 available positions across 36 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico.

The first cohort of the American Climate Corps is scheduled to begin in June, aiming to employ over 20,000 youths in roles ranging from solar panel installation to environmental restoration, including the management of technologies like LiDAR cameras for methane detection.