Solar energy is not just for the wealthy. The federal government is now putting solar panels on affordable housing units across the nation.

Solar panels on homes
Solar panels on the rooftops of homes by a Renew300 partner in Denver.

Bergemann: “We have over 2.5 million assisted units and we spend about seven billion dollars a year just on utilities, so if we can reduce the energy costs of those units even by a small amount, we can save millions for taxpayers, for building owners and for tenants.”

That’s Crystal Bergemann of HUD – the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She says HUD expects to generate three-hundred megawatts of clean energy on federally-assisted housing within four years – primarily through rooftop and community solar.

The goal is triple what the President’s climate action plan originally called for, and is expected to save taxpayers forty-seven million dollars a year.

Bergemann: “We really want to ensure that low income communities can benefit from new energy economy, from solar energy, from energy efficiency programs. You know, we have millions of rooftops that HUD assists, so we want to make sure we’re using them, and using them as an asset.”

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Beyond the savings, HUD’s solar initiative provides local jobs, improves public health, and helps address climate change – a win for communities and the environment.

Reporting credit: Daisy Simmons/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo source: Renew300.

More Resources
Renew300 initiative
HUD’s Better Buildings Challenge
Powering a brighter future in public housing
Will the giants of housing finance become “green” giants?

Daisy Simmons is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in research-driven storytelling. In addition to contributing to Yale Climate Connections since early 2016, she also...