FACT SHEET: President Obama Announces New Actions to Bring Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency to Households across the Country
Advancing Clean Energy Technology Innovation, Cutting Energy Bills, and Creating Jobs
President Obama is committed to taking responsible steps to address climate change, promote clean energy and energy efficiency, drive innovation, and ensure a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations. That is why at Senator Reid’s National Clean Energy Summit later today, he is announcing a robust set of executive actions and private sector commitments to accelerate America’s transition to cleaner sources of energy and ways to cut energy waste.
These actions build on state leadership, all across America, to continue to expand opportunities to install energy saving technologies in households today, particularly those that need it most, while driving the development of innovative, low-cost clean energy technologies for tomorrow.
Last year, the United States brought online as much solar energy every three weeks as it did in all of 2008, and the solar industry added jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy. Since the beginning of 2010, the average cost of a solar electric system has dropped by 50 percent. In fact, distributed solar prices fell 10 to 20 percent in 2014 alone and currently 44 states have pricing structures that encourage increased penetration of distributed energy resources.
Americans are also more empowered to capture opportunities to improve efficiency and cut energy waste. In fact, up to one third of households can track their energy use and learn ways to make choices on how to save on their energy bills. Since President Obama took office, the U.S. Department of Energy has already put in place appliance efficiency standards that will save American consumers nearly $480 billion on their utility bills through 2030, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Program continues to help save consumers more than $34 billion per year going forward.
The executive actions and private sector commitments President Obama is announcing today will continue to promote the use and development of smart, simple, low-cost technologies to help households save on their energy bills and help America transition to cleaner, and more distributed energy resources. These include:
- Making $1 billion in additional loan guarantee authority available and announcing new guidelines for distributed energy projects utilizing innovative technology and states looking to access this financing;
- Unlocking residential Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing for single-family housing to make is easier for Americans to invest in clean energy technologies;
- Launching a new HUD and DOE program to provide home owners with a simple way to measure and improve the energy efficiency of their homes, by increasing homeowners borrowing power;
- Creating a DOD Privatized Housing Solar Challenge, and announcing companies are committing to provide solar power to housing on over 40 military bases across the United States, while saving military families money on energy bills and making military communities more energy secure;
- Announcing $24 million for 11 projects in seven states to develop innovative solar technologies that double the amount of energy each solar panel can produce from the sun;
- Approving a transmission line that will support bringing online a 485-megawatt photovoltaic facility that will be constructed in Riverside County and produce enough renewable energy to power more than 145,000 homes; and
- Creating an Interagency Task Force to Promote a Clean Energy Future for All Americans; and announcing independent commitments from local governments, utilities, and businesses that are stepping up to drive energy efficiency in more than 300,000 low-income households and investing more than $220 million in energy saving activities for veterans and low-income customers to help decrease their energy bills.
Today’s actions build on a longstanding commitment to create a clean energy economy for all Americans, will help states meet the targets in the Clean Power Plan announced earlier this month, and set us on a path to reach the President’s goals, including:
- Achieving an economy-wide target to reduce emissions by 26%-28% below 2005 levels in 2025;
- Increase the share of renewables – beyond hydropower – in their respective electricity generation mixes to the level of 20% by 2030;
- Installing 300 megawatts of renewable energy across federally subsidized housing by 2020; and
- Doubling energy productivity by 2030.
EXECUTIVE ACTIONS TO DRIVE CLEAN ENERGY AND CUT ENERGY WASTE
To continue to reinforce American leadership in deploying clean energy and cutting energy waste while creating jobs and reducing carbon pollution, the Administration is announcing the following actions:
Making $1 Billion in Additional Loan Guarantee Authority Available and Announcing New Guidelines for Distributed Energy Projects Utilizing Innovative Technology: Distributed Energy Projects are currently driving innovation and transforming U.S. energy markets. Technologies such as rooftop solar, energy storage, smart grid technology, and methane capture for oil and gas wells, solve key energy challenges. Catalyzing these technologies and demonstrating the viability of these markets would create economic opportunity, strengthen energy security, transform certain energy markets, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To accelerate the pace of innovation in distributed energy, the Department of Energy is:
- Inviting Innovative Distributed Energy Projects to Apply to More Than $10 Billion in Current Loan Guarantees: The Department of Energy is supplementing its current loan guarantee solicitations to invite applications for Distributed Energy Projects. The current Solicitations, totaling more than $10 billion in loan guarantee authority, are now clearly unlocked to support scale up of Distributed Energy Projects utilizing innovative technology. Today’s announcement includes guidance from the Department on how a Distributed Energy Project transaction could be properly structured.
- Making Available $1 Billion in Additional Loan Guarantee Authority for New, Innovative Projects: As part of its new push for Distributed Energy Projects utilizing innovative technology, the Department of Energy is providing up to $1 billion in additional loan guarantee authority through its current Solicitations for new Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects and Fossil Energy Projects. This significantly boosts the resources available to new applicants.
- Providing Clarity for States and State Green Banks on How to Work with the Department’s Loan Programs Office: The Department of Energy is also issuing new guidance making clear that state-affiliated financial entities, including state green banks, may submit applications for Eligible Projects. That means any state or state-affiliated entity that satisfies all other requirements for qualification as a borrower can submit applications for Eligible Projects, including Distributed Energy Projects. In addition, the Department made clear today that state and state-affiliated entities, including state green banks, may participate in Distributed Energy Projects as lenders or co-lenders, off-takers or equity providers.
Announcing New Programs to Accelerate the Deployment of Clean Energy Technologies Available Today: For more than 80 years, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has provided low-income households and underserved communities access to safe and affordable mortgage credit. And with today’s announcement, FHA will provide additional opportunities for borrowers with FHA insured loans to benefit from affordable financing of home energy improvements, saving them money, and improving the environment. Today more than 7.6 million households in the U.S. live in FHA-insured single family housing. To accelerate this transition and drive the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency in single family housing, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is taking the following actions:
- Unlocking Residential Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing: PACE is an innovative mechanism for financing energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements. PACE financing allows homeowners to benefit from energy improvements immediately and pay back the cost over time through their property taxes. When the property is sold, the remaining PACE loan stays with the more energy efficient property and the next owner is responsible for repaying the loan. PACE programs have the potential to unlock alternative sources of capital to accelerate renewable energy and efficiency retrofits for households, and reduce energy costs for consumers.To remove existing barriers and accelerate the use of PACE financing for single family housing, HUD’s Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is announcing today that, under guidance to be issued soon, properties with subordinated PACE loans can be purchased and refinanced with an FHA insured mortgage. HUD is issuing a preliminary statement indicating the conditions under which borrowers purchasing or refinancing properties with existing PACE assessments will be eligible to use FHA-insured financing. Secretary Castro is also sending a letter to Governors describing the options the FHA offers to make it easier for consumers to undertake energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements in their homes. FHA’s evolving PACE guidance is also being informed by ongoing conversations with the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
This action is distinct from the multifamily PACE guidance for the State of California that HUD released earlier this year. The guidance clarified the circumstances under which HUD will approve unsubordinated PACE financing on HUD-assisted and -insured multifamily housing in California in order to facilitate the establishment of a California Multifamily PACE Pilot.
- Increasing Homeowners Borrowing Power to Make Energy Efficiency Improvements: HUD’s FHA Energy Efficient Home Program and DOE are launching a program to provide potential homeowners with an easy way to measure and improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Under the new HUD and DOE Home Energy Score partnership, in areas where the Home Energy Score is available, single family households will be able to increase their access to financing tools to make energy efficiency improvements. DOE’s Home Energy Score offers a “miles per gallon” type rating to estimate a home’s energy use on a 10-point scale. A “1” corresponds to the least energy efficient homes and a “10” corresponds to the most energy efficient homes, while the average U.S. home will score a “5.” Through this new partnership, homebuyers or homeowners who want to obtain an FHA-insured purchase or refinance mortgage for a single family home that receives a Home Energy Score of 6 or higher will be eligible to increase their income qualifying ratio by 2 percentage points above the standard Single Family FHA limit, making it easier to secure financing to make these improvements.