Congressman Donald McEachin (D-Va.) introduced legislation this week to make residential solar energy more affordable for low-income families.
The Low-Income Solar Energy Act would expand a federally funded program that helps low-income households with their energy bills to include more relief for solar energy, direct the Department of Energy to create new solar financing programs, and provide certain homeowners with interest-free loans to install solar.
In Virginia, the solar industry employs nearly 4,000 people and produces enough solar energy to power over 87,000 homes. But for many low-income households across the Commonwealth, the barriers to accessing solar power, like the high upfront costs of installing solar panels, make it a luxury they cannot afford.
McEachin said that constituents in Virginia’s 4th Congressional District are “eager for solutions” to the climate crisis and that his bill helps makes those solutions more accessible.
“All Americans – regardless of where they live – deserve a healthy, sustainable environment,” McEachin said. “That is why this bill is important. Investing in solar energy will not only reduce the energy burden on low-income families, but it will also result in cleaner air and healthier families.”
The move should play well in Virginia where 82% of voters support policies that incentivize solar and other clean energy technologies, according to the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.