The government has told us that the biggest problem facing the poor ranges from everything from a sub-$15 minimum wage to “food deserts” where there’s no fresh, healthy produce to be found. The White House, though, is ready to try a new approach to assisting the poor: increasing the use of solar panels in low-income housing.
The administration released a fact sheet today detailing the White House’s plan, which it says “will help continue to scale up solar for all Americans, including those who are renters, lack the startup capital to invest in solar, or do not have adequate information on how to transition to solar energy.”
President Obama also believes the initiative will allow him to meet his stated goal to train 75,000 workers to enter the solar industry by 2020. Best of all, the solar energy industry “is also setting its own, independent goal of becoming the most diverse sector of the U.S. energy industry, and a number of companies are announcing that they are taking steps to build a more inclusive solar workforce.”
Wouldn’t you know: Sen. Bernie Sanders — who recently called out the president on his record-low unemployment figures — is again undercutting the president by introducing his own legislation to provide solar energy to the poor and stick it to the Koch brothers. President Obama wants to provide two free years of community college? Sanders had pledged a free ride at all state colleges and universities. Socialism!
The 2016 presidential candidate introduced legislation Tuesday that would establish a fund under the Department of Energy that would either help pay for the installation of solar panels for low-income families who own their home or loan money to organizations that want to provide access for low-income families to solar facilities.
The fund would also prioritize loans from woman- or minority-owned small business, according to a fact sheet from Sanders’ office, as well as reserve funding for solar facilities on Indian tribal lands, the Appalachia region and Alaskan native communities.