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White House Takes Aim at Solar for Low- and Middle-Income Americans

The Obama administration announced on Tuesday a plan to grant greater access to solar energy production for all Americans, in particular low- and middle- income communities.

White House HUD Housing and Development Solar Power

The White House announced that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will release information next month to provide building owners and business additional knowledge regarding incentives and policies for adding solar power.  HUD is also launching a website to provide policy guidance, tools and other online resources to “help advance solar deployment and the installation of other renewable energy in affordable housing,” a White House press release stated.  The administration’s plans will also increase borrowing options and loan limits through a Federal Housing Administration program that will let people install solar panels at federally assisted or insured housing, and called for relaxing conditions through a federal program that allows homeowners to borrow money for energy efficiency and solar panel improvements.

Senior advisor to President Obama, Brian Deese, intimated that lack of sufficient credit for financing is a significant barrier for many Americans to enter the solar market.  Deese told reporters that there is still a “significant challenge in the scope and geographic reach of solar.”  The agreements common in the market have a tendency to prevent people with bad credit from installing solar systems, as the agreements typically require long-term financing plans for the installation and maintenance of the panels.

The administration’s new goal of installing 300 MW of renewable energy, primarily solar, at federally subsidized housing by 2020 is three times the previous target, which has already been surpassed.

For further information on this announcement, visit the White House fact sheet here.

© 2020 Foley & Lardner LLPNational Law Review, Volume V, Number 189


About this Author

Legal, Business, Jeffery Atkin, Foley Lardner, Environmental Attorney

Jeffery R. Atkin is a partner and business lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. His areas of practice cover a broad range of business and financial matters, including renewable energy, project finance, private placements, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, real estate development and equipment procurement and leasing. Mr. Atkin is chair of the Solar Energy Team, co-chair of the Energy Industry Team, and a member of the Latin America Practice.

Mr. Atkin’s experience in renewable energy and project finance includes representing developers,...

Justus Britt, Solar Energy Project Attorney, Foley Lardner Law Firm

Justus Britt is a business lawyer and special counsel with Foley & Lardner LLP. Mr. Britt focuses on the development and acquisition of solar energy projects. His project development experience includes advising clients on real estate, permitting, and construction matters, including negotiating supply, EPC, and O&M agreements. Mr. Britt’s acquisition experience includes leading due diligence efforts and assisting on stock and asset purchase agreements, as well as joint venture agreements. He is a member of the firm’s Energy Industry Team and the Transactional & Securities Practice.