Biden announces $7 billion in solar power grants

This week US President Joe Biden used Earth Day as a platform to announce federal grants to provide residential solar projects. This will serve over 900,000 households in both low and middle-income communities.

Amongst a busy week of climate action, the president was speaking at Prince William Forest Park, Virginia revealing measures to tackle the climate crisis and increase access to clean energy at a lower cost. The $7bn investment in solar energy projects focuses on disadvantaged communities, unveiling a week-long series of what the White House are saying will be “historic climate actions.” The main event was the announcement of $7bn in grants through the Environmental Protection Agency’s “solar for all” programme, funded by last year’s $369bn Inflation Reduction Act. Biden has said this will benefit hundreds of thousands of mostly low-income families who currently spend up to 30% of their income on energy.

Projects funded by the solar for all programme will also create 200,000 jobs and advance the Justice40 initiative, in which at least 40% of the benefits of investments in federal climate clean energy, and affordable and sustainable housing projects, are directed to communities “marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.” The EPA has also calculated that the investment will generate $8bn in household electricity bill savings over the life of the programme.

“These awards across the country [are to] states, territories, tribal governments, municipalities and non-profits to develop programs to enable low income and disadvantaged communities to benefit from residential solar power. And it’s a big deal,” President Biden said. “Solar for all programme means 900,000 households will have solar on the rooftops for the first time and soon, millions of families will save over $400 a year on utility bills.”

The president also announced a new website to encourage citizens to join the American Climate Corps, a volunteer government organisation. The site,, aims to initially fill about 2,000 positions across 36 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico, hosted by organisations working on clean energy, conservation and climate resilience projects. Ultimately the corps will employ more than 20,000 young people, the White House says.

Biden has been trying to increase his support amongst younger, climate-conscious voters who were disappointed with the administration’s approval last year of oil and gas developments, including the giant Willow project in Alaska. Senior administration officials said young Americans are keenly invested in the Biden climate agenda and want to actually help enact it. The officials believe that The Climate Corps initiative is a way for them to do that.

Climate activist groups welcomed Biden’s solar energy announcement. “Solar for all is exactly the type of investment the country needs to reimagine our clean energy future,” Jean Su, energy justice programme director at the Centre for Biological Diversity, said in a statement.

“Broad community-based solar is our brightest hope for protecting people and our climate from the scourge of fossil fuels. These targeted investments mean low-income families get clean energy that is affordable, resilient and protects our ecosystems. It’s great to see President Biden jumpstart this landmark programme.”

Solar is gaining traction as a key renewable energy source that could reduce the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels, which emit planet-warming greenhouse gases. Not only is it clean, but solar energy can also boost the reliability of the electric grid.

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