The Obama administration has issued a series of executive actions designed to advance solar energy in the U.S., including a new website to coordinate federal solar deployment.
The executive actions pertaining to solar include the following:
* The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is launching its Solar Powering America website, providing access to a wide range of federal resources to drive solar deployment. The website will also be used to highlight and track private-sector commitments to install distributed solar.
* The DOE's Solar Instructor Training Network is launching a veterans' job training pilot project at up to three military bases this fall. The pilot project will connect veterans with the DOE's network of more than 400 community college-based solar training institutions.
* The U.S. Department of Agriculture is awarding $68 million in loans and grants for 540 renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects nationwide, including 240 solar projects. The funding is being provided through the Rural Energy for America Program.
* The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)'s Community Planning and Development (CPD) office is affirming that under current guidelines, Section 108 funding can be used for clean energy and energy efficiency projects. To support local communities in utilizing this and other funding, HUD is creating a renewable energy toolkit for use by CPD grantees. The toolkit will provide program compliance information and guidelines on integrating renewable energy components – including solar photovoltaic, solar hot water and cogeneration – using CPD funds. The toolkit will be available in early 2015.
* The DOE is releasing an updated Guide to Federal Financing for Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy Deployment. This guide will highlight financing programs located in various federal agencies that can be used for energy-efficiency and clean energy projects.
* The Solar Foundation has released a report funded by the DOE's SunShot Initiative exploring how U.S. schools are choosing solar to lower their energy costs and carbon footprint.
* The DOE and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are releasing three new studies showing that the cost of solar energy continues to fall across all sectors. According to one report, the installed price of commercial and residential solar declined by more than 12% in 2013.
In addition to the executive actions, the White House says 50 companies, states, communities and multifamily housing leaders have committed to deploy on-site solar energy and improve energy efficiency. The commitments represent more than 35 MW of solar deployed.