Today, President Obama announced more than 300 private and public sector commitments to create jobs and cut carbon pollution by advancing solar deployment and energy efficiency. The commitments represent more than 850 megawatts of solar deployed – enough to power nearly 130,000 homes – as well as energy efficiency investments that will lower bills for more than 1 billion square feet of buildings. Additionally, the President announced new executive actions that will lead to $2 billion in energy efficiency investments in Federal buildings; smarter appliances that will cut carbon pollution by more than 380 million metric tons – equivalent to taking 80 million cars off the road for one year – and will save businesses nearly $26 billion on their energy bills; and training programs at community colleges across the country that will assist 50,000 workers to enter the solar industry by 2020.
President Obama is committed to making 2014 a year of action and has pledged to use the power of his phone and his pen to expand opportunity for all Americans. Last month, the White House hosted a Solar Summit celebrating cross-sector leadership on solar and calling for commitments to support solar deployment and jobs through the expand use of solar in our homes, businesses, and schools. The President has also called on private and public sector leaders to join the Better Buildings Challenge and continue improving the efficiency of American commercial, institutional, and multifamily buildings and industrial plants by 20 percent or more over ten years.
Today, leaders from the private and public sectors are answering the call. Altogether, more than 300 multifamily housing, homebuilder and home improvement, rural electric cooperative, commercial sector (including retailers, food service, and hospitality), and public sector (including states, cities, school districts) organizations are announcing commitments.
The commitments made today build on the momentum that is driving solar deployment and energy efficiency investments all across the country:
- Last year, about a quarter of new power generation capacity was from solar – second only to natural gas.
- Growing deployment, led in large part by the utility sector, has driven down costs: Over the last three years, the cost of a solar energy system has dropped by more than 50 percent – helping to give more and more American families and businesses access to affordable, clean energy.
- Since the President took office, America has increased its electricity generation from solar more than ten-fold and tripled electricity production from wind power.
- Since the President took office, the Department of Energy has already put in place appliance efficiency standards that will save American consumers nearly $450 billion on their utility bills through 2030.
To further support solar deployment, reduce the amount of energy consumed by American families, cut down on their energy bills, and create jobs, today, the President is taking new executive actions to:
- Build a skilled solar workforce;
- Provide innovative financing for deploying solar;
- Drive investment in energy upgrades to federal buildings;
- Improve appliance efficiency; and
- Strengthen building codes.
The private sector commitments and executive actions announced today reinforce American leadership in innovating and deploying clean energy, cutting energy waste, and creating good paying jobs that cannot be outsourced.
NEW EXECUTIVE ACTIONS
As part of this Year of Action, the President has taken numerous actions to advance our nation’s energy and climate goals and expand opportunities for hardworking Americans to get ahead. But there’s more work to do. That’s why, today, the President announced a series of executive actions that will create jobs, reduce carbon pollution, and cut energy waste.
- Building a Skilled Solar Workforce: To enable a skilled workforce to support the growth of solar deployment across America, the DOE’s Solar Instructor Training Network will support training programs at community colleges across the country that will assist 50,000 workers to enter the solar industry by 2020. This builds upon SunShot’s existing Solar Instructor Training Network of nearly 400 community colleges in 49 states that have trained over 22,000 people to join the solar industry since 2010. These community colleges include:
San Francisco City College, San Francisco, CA
Oglala Lakota Community College, Kyle, SD (Oglala Lakota Tribe)
Kankakee Community College, Kankakee, IL
St. Phillips College, San Antonio, TX
Forsyth Technical Community College, Winston Salem, NC
Greenfield Community College, Greenfield, MA
HUD and DOE are also partnering to advance available educational opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields to support energy literacy and employment opportunities in the solar sector for public housing residents.
- Providing Innovative Financing for Deploying Solar: Building on the success of the Defense Department’s coordinated efforts to purchase renewables – and leverage its buying power to deploy clean energy technologies like solar – the General Services Administration is identifying opportunities for potential Federal Aggregated Solar Procurements in both the National Capital Region and Northern California. The effort seeks to bring together multiple Federal agencies to capitalize on economies of scale with the goal of lower electricity bills for individual sites, and increased renewable energy production, while reducing internal agency overhead costs by sharing procurement and project management resources.
In addition, in a step forward for renewable energy, the Treasury Department and IRS will shortly clarify how certain investment rules relate to renewable energy installations. This is important because real estate investment trusts (REITs), a key component of many retail investors’ portfolios, generally hold only real property. The new guidance will provide clarity regarding the treatment of renewable energy installations in REITs, thereby helping to promote investment in the sector.
REDUCING ENERGY BILLS FOR AMERICAN FAMILIES AND BUSINESSES
Energy efficiency is one of the clearest and most cost-effective opportunities to save families money, make our businesses more competitive, and reduce carbon pollution. That’s why the President established a new goal for energy efficiency standards in his Climate Action Plan and directed his Administration to reduce barriers to investment in energy efficiency and expand the Better Buildings Challenge. As part of the President’s Year of Action the Administration has already issued three proposed and four final energy efficiency standards, expanded the Better Buildings Challenge to include multifamily housing, and announced new funding for innovative energy efficiency projects located in the U.S. To further reduce the amount of energy consumed by American families, cut down on their energy bills, and create jobs, today, the President announced new initiatives to:
- Drive $2 Billion in Energy Efficiency Investments for Federal Buildings: Today, President Obama is announcing an additional $2 billion goal in federal energy efficiency upgrades to Federal buildings over the next 3 years. Today’s challenge, in combination with the initial commitment of $2 billion in 2011, will result in a total of $4 billion in energy efficiency performance contracts in the Federal sector through 2016. These investments will save Americans billions in energy costs, promote energy independence, and, according to independent estimates, create tens of thousands of jobs in the hard-hit construction sector. The $2 billion investment announced today extends and expands the President’s commitment to energy upgrades of Federal buildings using long-term energy savings to pay for up-front costs, at no net cost to taxpayers. Federal agencies have already committed to a pipeline of nearly $2.7 billion in projects.
- Breaking through Market and Technical Barriers: As part of the President’s Climate Action Plan, the Energy Department created three Better Building Accelerators in December 2013 to support and encourage ongoing state- and local government-led effort to save money and energy. Building off of this progress, today, DOE is launching a High Performance Outdoor Lighting Accelerator to increase the adoption and use of high efficiency outdoor lighting in the public sector. This Accelerator is aimed at replacing more than 500,000 outdoor lighting poles and developing best practice approaches to municipal system-wide upgrades. The charter cities include:
- Detroit, MI
- Mid-America Regional Council representing Kansas City, MO metro area
- West Palm Beach, FL
- Little Rock, AK
- Huntington Beach, CA
- Improve Appliance Efficiency: Today, DOE is issuing two final energy efficiency conservation standards. One standard for electric motors, which are frequently used to power devices such as conveyor belts and escalators, another standard for walk-in coolers and freezers, such as those used to display milk in supermarkets. Through 2030, these standards will help cut carbon pollution by about 158 million metric tons – equivalent to the annual electricity use of more than 21 million U.S. homes and will save consumers over $26 billion on their energy bills. Since June, the Department has issued nine proposed and five final energy conservation standards, and when combined with the final rules already issued under this Administration, will surpass 70 percent of the President’s goal of reducing carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030.
- Strengthen Building Codes: Today, the Department of Energy is preliminarily affirming that industry’s latest commercial building energy code – the 2013 edition of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1 – provide an additional 8.5 percent energy savings over the previous Standard, and up to 30 percent savings compared to today’s predominant state energy codes. The updated code will help states and the Federal government save money and energy on building operations and cut emissions by 230 million metric tons of CO2 by 2030. Since 2009, improved codes for residential and commercial buildings have already saved U.S. homes and businesses $44 billion on their energy bills, today’s action builds off of this progress.
- Expand Multifamily Housing Energy Finance Solutions Through Green Preservation Plus: Fannie Mae and HUD/The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced the expansion of the Green Preservation Plus program, an enhanced financing option aimed at preserving quality affordable housing by encouraging the investment in energy- and water-saving property improvements. Green Preservation Plus, formerly Green Refinance Plus, is a Fannie Mae-FHA Multifamily mortgage loan execution that provides extra loan proceeds to owners of affordable housing properties to make energy- and water-efficient property improvements. To be eligible for a Green Preservation Plus mortgage loan, owners must commit to making energy- and water-saving improvements in an amount equal to at least 5% of the mortgage loan amount. These improvements can significantly reduce energy and water consumption at the property, thereby improving the operating income for the owner, lowering utility costs for tenants and the updating the property.
PRIVATE AND PUBLIC SECTOR COMMITMENTS
The commitments President Obama announced today span every corner of the United States, from a 75 year old vegetable farm in California to a rural electric coop in Kentucky, from the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority to a homebuilder in Texas, and from a retailer with stores all across America to research universities in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, showing that no matter where you live using clean sources of power and cutting energy waste is not an abstract idea, it’s a smart choice for American businesses and families.
Commitments to Advance Solar Deployment. Solar is becoming affordable and accessible – a smart option – for a growing number of families and businesses. Supported by historic investments in research, development, and deployment, the price of solar technologies has decreased and the U.S. solar market has experienced rapid growth since President Obama took office. Last year was a record-breaking year for new solar installations, and the amount of solar power installed in the United States has increased nearly eleven fold – from 1.2 gigawatts in 2008 to an estimated 13 gigawatts today, which is enough to power more than 2.2 million American homes.
Today, responding to the President’s call to action on solar deployment, leaders from across sectors are making commitments that will expand the use of solar in our homes, businesses, and schools – creating jobs and cutting carbon pollution. For these leaders, solar makes economic sense today; it’s something that works now:
- MULTIFAMILY AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING LEADERS: Across the country, low-income housing leaders and service providers are stepping up to deploy solar on affordable multifamily properties; because solar makes economic sense for them, brings an economic boost to struggling communities and families, and it’s something that works now.
WinnCompanies, the largest manager of affordable multifamily housing in the nation, has developed over 1 megawatt (MW) and is setting a goal of an additional 4 MW by 2020.
Hispanic Housing Development Corporation, through its subsidiary Affordable Community Energy, Inc., a non-profit providing housing and energy services to low-income communities across the Midwest, is on track to install 600 kW of solar by May and commits to add 530 kW of additional solar by the end of 2015.
Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF) and its eleven members joined together to reduce energy and water consumption by 20 percent by 2020 through their Big Reach Initiative. These efforts have the potential to contribute 500,000 therms and 4 MW of solar PV.
Enterprise Community Partners, which facilitates affordable multifamily housing across the country, is announcing a 16 MW target totaling $40 million in investment by 2020 in D.C., Denver, Boston, LA, and Chicago.
GRID Alternatives, a nonprofit organization, will help install 100 MW of solar power on affordable single-family and multifamily housing across the country by 2024; GRID Alternatives has also launched a new Tribal Solar Initiative to ensure that American Indian tribes have access to the benefits of solar power.
National Housing Trust, an innovative affordable housing developer and owner, will install 400 kW of solar PV and 15,000 therms of Solar thermal this year; in 2015, will add another 100 kW of PV and 5,000 therms of Solar Thermal.
LINC Housing, a non-profit organization that builds, owns, and operates affordable housing, is committed to installing 826 kilowatt (kW) of solar PV across over 1,000 units of affordable housing in California by 2016.
Denver Housing Authority recently installed 2.5 MW of solar and continues its commitment of adding solar to every new phase of redevelopment as evidenced by its installation of another 100kw on Mariposa Phase VI starting construction in the fall of 2014. The housing authority is also developing a comprehensive district wide energy design program for PV and geothermal energy under a micro-utility structure for Denver’s 100 acre Sun Valley neighborhood.
EAH Housing, a nonprofit housing development and management corporation, has 3.1 MW of on-site solar PV in their affordable housing portfolio and is committed to an additional 20 projects – a total of nearly 10 MW.
Black Rock Solar, a non-profit clean energy organization, has a goal of installing 11 MW across housing and community facilities by 2017.
Community Power Network is setting a goal of 1 MW of solar installed across 200 projects in DC, MD, and VA by 2015.
Yolo County Housing Authority is setting a goal to install of 900kw of solar by 2016.
Global Green USA is setting a goal to install 1 MW of solar by 2017.
Affirmed Housing Group, a multi-family affordable housing provider, will add 550 KW of on-site solar across 2 projects.
Bayview Community Development Corp., a multi-family affordable housing provider, will add 400 KW of on-site solar across 1 project.
Chelsea Investment Corporation, a multi-family affordable housing provider, will add 6.5 MW of on-site solar across a total of 20 projects.
Community Housing Works, a multi-family affordable housing provider, will add 3.5 MW of on-site solar across a total of 22 projects.
Community Advancement Corp., a multi-family affordable housing provider, will add 255 KW of on-site solar across a total of 7 projects.
The Core Companies, a multi-family affordable housing provider, will add 1.6 MW of on-site solar across a total of 4 projects.
Horizon Development/Preservation Partners, a multi-family affordable housing provider, will add 450 KW of on-site solar across a total of 2 projects.
Innovative Housing Opportunities, a multi-family affordable housing provider, will add 500 KW of on-site solar across a total of 5 projects.
Mutual Housing California, a multi-family affordable housing provider, will add 800 KW of on-site solar across a total of 6 projects.
Standard Property Company, a multi-family affordable housing provider, will add 2.6 MW of on-site solar across a total of 4 projects.
The Reliant Group, a multi-family affordable housing provider, will add 800 KW of on-site solar across a total of 6 projects.
Urban Housing Communities, a multi-family affordable housing provider, will add 300 KW of on-site solar across a total of 3 projects.
VITUS, a multi-family affordable housing provider, will add 450 KW of on-site solar across a total of 1 project.
- Wakeland Housing and Development Corporation, a multi-family affordable housing provider, will add 542 KW of on-site solar across a total of 4 projects.
- HOMEBUILDERS AND HOME IMPROVEMENT LEADERS: Part of tapping the full potential of solar means making it accessible for new homebuyers and homeowners. This group of leaders is stepping up to make it possible for more new homebuyers and homeowners to have solar available as an option.
The Home Depot will position over 1000 stores to be learning centers for residential solar power systems by 2016. Home Depot customers in AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, MA, MD, OR, NJ, NY, and PA can already choose solar.
Lennar is making a significant commitment to more than double in size over the next several years, a groundbreaking program that includes solar as a standard feature in new homes in 80 communities across the country where consumers purchase the solar energy produced on their roofs at a guaranteed 20% discount off retail electricity rates for 20 years.
Pulte Homes offers solar as an option in every current community in Southern California and Nevada as well as 3 communities in Arizona where solar is a standard feature. This will result in over 11,200 new homes with solar.
Balfour Beatty is working to deploy solar on military base housing – including a project for 13.2MW on Fort Bliss, fulfilling more than 25% of the housing community’s electricity needs.
CertainTeed Roofing, a manufacturer of building materials for both commercial and residential construction, is committing to solarize 16,000 homes, equivalent to 81 MW, over the next three years in the U.S.
Scudder Roofing, a full-service residential and commercial contractor has a new goal to install solar for over 500 homes and commercial entities over the next three years.
State Roofing Systems is committed to installing 3 MW of solar over the next three years.
Beutler Corporation, one of the largest HVAC companies in the U.S., is committed to 5.4 MW of residential and 3 MW of small commercial solar over the next three years.
22 New Homebuilders, partnering with the Department of Energy, announced commitments to construct nearly 10,000 Zero Energy Ready Homes – outfitted for solar – supporting the DOE’s goal of 75,000 Zero Energy Ready Homes by 2020:
- Garbett Homes
- New Town Builders
- Clayton Homes
- HAO Texas Builder
- Midtown Residential
- Mandalay Homes
- Palo Duro Homes
- Community Empowerment
- Green Team Real Estate
- Mutual Housing California
- Hyde Homes
- Nexus Energy Homes
- Bruns Realty Group
- M Street Homes
- Caribella Homes
- Christian Builders
- David Weekly Homes
- Desert Alliance for
- Palo Duro Homes
- RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE LEADERS: Across the country, member-owned, not-for-profit rural electric cooperatives are deploying a variety of solar options, including more than fifty community solar projects. Today, America’s electric cooperatives are announcing 199 rural electric co-ops in 27 states and American Samoa are planning solar installations that will provide over 150 MW of new solar capacity by 2020.
- COMMERCIAL SECTOR LEADERS: Hundreds of American-based companies are choosing solar power as an energy source. Today, the following commercial sector leaders are rising to the President’s Challenge and committing to increase onsite solar generation at their facilities and within their supply chains:
- Wal-mart commits to double the number of onsite solar energy projects at U.S. stores, Sam’s Clubs, and Distribution Centers by 2020, as part of their commitment to drive the production or procurement of 7 billion kWh of renewable energy by the end of the decade.
- Kaiser Permanente commits to increase its onsite generation capacity in 2014 with additional solar installations at numerous locations, including thier new Oakland Medical Center, the Hidden Lake Medical Offices in Colorado, and at various Hawaii sites; and is investigating adding as much as 40 megawatts of onsite solar power capacity through installations at dozens of our medical campuses throughout California.
- Ikea commits to use renewable energy generation at their new U.S. IKEA store locations, when feasible, with a focus on evaluating the viability of using solar and geothermal generation. Ikea is also announcing that their Miami, Florida store, which will open in summer 2014, will be their 40thUS location with solar PV.
- Apple, already running its data centers on 100% renewable energy, is now building a 2.8 million square-foot headquarters which will also run entirely on renewables, including 16 MW of rooftop solar. Apple has committed to powering all its facilities with green energy sources and has already achieved 94% of that goal.
- Clif Bar is launching their 50/50 by 2020 initiative, asking their supply chain partners to use green power –including solar –for the electricity used to make their ingredients, packaging and products. Their goal is to have 50 key supply chain partners transition to at least 50% green power by 2020.
- Viridity Energy will drive the creation of 300 MW of new battery storage for solar and other renewables by 2017. This will help make our electric grid more robust and efficient, while enabling it to accept more power from solar and other renewable energy sources.
- Bonipak, a 75-year old farm and one of the largest growers and processors of fresh vegetables distributing to retailers, wholesalers and food service customers worldwide has set a goal to install over 2 MW of solar over the next year
- Taylor Farms, which partners with hundreds of farmers across North America to produce ingredients for salads, set a goal to install 1 MW of solar.
- Yahoo is committing to add a solar installation to their Sunnyvale headquarters by early 2015 to complement their efforts to source from clean energy.
- Google is announcing a $1 million prize to develop the next generation of power inverters, enabling solar power in more homes and helping bring electricity to the most remote places on Earth.
- Wal-mart commits to double the number of onsite solar energy projects at U.S. stores, Sam’s Clubs, and Distribution Centers by 2020, as part of their commitment to drive the production or procurement of 7 billion kWh of renewable energy by the end of the decade.
- LEADING FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS: Private finance is critical to scaling solar and renewables, which make sound, reliable investments. The following financial institutions are leading the way, announcing today new plans to grow solar and renewable installation through large scale investment and innovative programs.
Connecticut’s Green Bank, the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority, commits to help fund 75 MW of solar PV in Connecticut by 2016. The Green Bank attracts private capital by leveraging public financing at a ratio of 9 to 1, enabling Connecticut to go solar at a lower cost to ratepayers.
- Citi is committed to continue expanding its finance efforts to scale distributed generation solar in the US. Citi will support public and private sector clients, and employ a number of financing mechanisms and partners, with a total financing target of $1 billion over the next three years.
- Boston Community Capital, an innovative community development financial institution supporting low-income communities will develop four megawatts of solar energy projects primarily for affordable housing developments and community-based nonprofits by, doubling their program’s current capacity.
- In 2012, Goldman Sachs extended its long-standing commitment to support renewable energy by establishing a global target of $40 billion in financings and co- investments towards clean technology over the coming decade. Of this amount, today it announces a target of $10 billion for distributed generation renewables, including solar, in the U.S. through 2021.
Commitments to Advance Energy Efficiency Investments. In February 2011, President Obama launched the Better Buildings Challenge to help American commercial and industrial buildings become at least 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020. More than 190 diverse organizations, representing over 3 billion square feet, 600 manufacturing plants and close to $2 billion in energy efficiency financing have stepped up to the President’s Challenge. Through 2013, Partners are on track to meet the 2020 goal and on average, are cutting energy use by 2.5 percent each year. Partners have saved 36 trillion BTUs and $300 million since the Better Buildings Challenge began.
Today, responding to the President’s call to action on energy efficiency, leaders from across the country are making commitments that will advance energy efficiency investments.
- 25 new states, cities, school districts, multifamily housing, retailers, food service, hospitality and manufacturing organizations are announcing that they are joining as Partners in the President’s Better Buildings Challenge, committing to improving the energy efficiency of more than 1 billion square feet, an area the size of 17,000 football fields, of additional floor space by at least 20 percent by 2020.
- Anne Arundel County Public Schools commits 13 million square feet of school buildings.
- Balfour Beatty Communities commits 50 million square feet of multifamily residential housing across 44,000 units.
- Capitol Hill Housing commits more than 1 million square feet of multifamily residential housing.
- Commonwealth Partners commits 11 million square feet across its commercial properties.
- Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, the 7th largest Public Housing Authority in the country, commits its multifamily portfolio over 10,500 units.
- Eastman Chemical commits 8 plants.
- General Mills commits 27 plants.
- General Motors commits 31 plants covering 84 million square feet.
- HARBEC commits 1 plant covering 50,000 square feet.
- Hilton Worldwide commits its company owned portfolio of 14 million square feet.
- Jonathan Rose Companies commits 2.7 million square feet across 2,855 multifamily housing units.
- City of Margate, FL commits 120,000 square feet.
- MGM Resorts International commits 78 million square feet.
- Minneapolis Public Housing Authority commits almost 4.5 million square feet of affordable multifamily housing.
- New Bedford Housing Authority commits 2.6 million square feet across 2500 multifamily housing units.
- Penn State University commits 28 million square feet.
- Rockford Housing Authority commits 3 million square feet across more than 1,000 multifamily housing units.
- City of San Diego, CA commits 9.5 million square feet.
- Towson University commits 5.5 million square feet campus-wide.
- University of Virginia, commits 15 million square feet.
- UTC commits 159 plants covering 38 million square feet.
- Walmart commits 850 million square feet.
- Whole Foods Market commits close to 13 million square feet.
- VLV commits 25,000 square feet of multifamily residential housing.
- Volvo commits 8 plants covering 5 million square feet.
- Wishrock Investment Group commits 8 million square feet across 8,000 multifamily housing units.
- Today, 7 new financial allies are also stepping up to the Better Buildings Challenge. These leadings organizations have committed to deliver innovative financing solutions and products to help owners and managers of multifamily housing and other organizations with energy efficiency upgrades. The new financial allies include:
- California Housing Partnership Corporation commits $25 million.
- Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) commits $25 million.
- Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. commits $25 million.
- Hannon Armstrong commits $250 million.
- Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) commits $25 million.
- Low Income Investment Fund commits $2.5 million.
- Triple Bottom Line (TBL) Fund commits $25 million.
- 20 Better Buildings Challenge Partners are committing to participate in a new expansion of the Better Buildings Challenge to cut energy wasted from the inefficient use of water. The commercial and industrial sectors account for more than 25% of the withdrawals from public water supplies and many organizations in these sectors may have savings opportunities of 20 to 40%. The efficient use of water resources results in lower operating costs, a more reliable water supply, and improved water quality. Energy is also required to transport and treat water, saving water also saves energy. Given this nexus, thru the Better Buildings Challenge, DOE will is working with a small, diverse group of Better Buildings Challenge Partners to demonstrate successful approaches to saving water and decreasing their utility bills.
City of Atlanta
- Eden Housing
- Ford Motor Company
- City of Fort Worth
- General Motors
- Kohl’s Department Stores
- NHT/Enterprise Preservation Corporation
- Nissan North America
- Poudre School District, CO
- St Gobain
- Tonti Properties
City of West Palm Beach
ST Staff Writers
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.