On Earth Day, Rep. Castor Introduces Legislation to Increase Access to Solar Energy
Bill would create good-paying jobs, reduce air pollution, and protect public health
Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) introduced the Community Solar Consumer Choice Act of 2021 which will increase access to solar energy across the Tampa Bay area for all neighbors, regardless of income. As we celebrate Earth Day, Rep. Castor is working to expand a Department of Energy program that encourages community solar projects nationwide and increases accessibility to energy produced by lower-cost solar power.
Watch Rep. Castor’s bill introduction Facebook Live event here.
“Clean energy should be available to all, especially our neighbors in the Sunshine State. Nearly 50 percent of American households and businesses are unable to host rooftop solar because they either cannot afford installation costs or they live in rented properties, multi-tenant buildings, or in buildings that are unable to host solar panels.
“Every American should have equitable access to clean air, clean water, and clean energy…That’s where community solar comes in.
“Here’s how it works: Community solar allows members of a community to jointly benefit from the energy produced by a shared solar array. Typically, individuals and businesses own or lease a portion of a third-party solar system, or purchase kilowatt-hour blocks of the renewable energy that the system generates.
“This bill will support the continued growth of solar, especially among families without the resources to build their own solar system. Local solar is a winning plan – it saves consumers money, creates jobs, and reduces harmful emissions. By expanding our clean electric grid and maximizing local solar and storage, we can reduce energy costs by $88 billion and create 2 million jobs by 2050.
“I’m proud to have the support of colleagues in Congress, and of so many groups – from Moms Clean Air Force, to Green Latinos, to We Act for Environmental Justice. As we rebuild our economy in the wake of COVID-19, we have the opportunity to create jobs and build back better and healthier with clean energy solutions like community solar,” said Rep. Castor.
“I am proud to support the Community Solar Consumer Choice Act. As we work towards becoming a net-zero nation, it is vital that we ensure low-income frontline communities receive equitable access for clean energy alternatives such as solar. By expanding the community solar program, we can achieve just that. On this Earth Day, we are encouraging sustainable power distribution systems that will help protect the health of our planet and our communities,” said Rep. Nydia Velázquez (NY07).
“Increasing individuals’ access to solar energy is good for the environment, good for people’s wallets, and good for American workers. I’m proud to partner with Congresswoman Castor to introduce the Community Solar Consumer Choice Act, which will ensure that the federal government is an active participant in efforts to grow the use of solar energy, particularly in communities that traditionally lack the resources to establish their own systems,” said Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA03).
“Community solar programs help lower energy costs and extend the financial and environmental benefits of clean energy to low-income and underserved communities. As we transition to a green economy, we must ensure all communities have access to clean energy to implement a true just transition. New Mexico just passed a community solar bill, and I am proud to co-sponsor the Community Solar Consumer Choice Act to expand existing community solar programs, create jobs, and reduce harmful emissions to protect this beautiful place we call home,” said Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández (NM03).
Cosponsors: Representatives Anna Eshoo (CA18), Nydia Velazquez (NY07), Jan Schakowsky (IL9), Peter Welch (D-VT), Paul Tonko (NY20), Lori Trahan (MA03), and Teresa Leger Fernández (NM03).
"As parents, we know that climate change is harming the health and future of our children. It’s why we are clamoring for solutions. It’s also why we are supporting increasing investments in community solar, which removes the requirement for individuals to install and own their own system, and makes solar energy more available to those who would otherwise not be able to install individual solar systems. Community solar will reduce harmful pollution, create new jobs, and save consumers money. Making solar energy more accessible to pollution-burdened areas across the country will help provide cleaner air and a more stable climate for our children and our communities,” said Molly Rauch, Public Health Policy Director, Moms Clean Air Force.
A full list of supporting quotes can be found here.
Supporting Organizations: Advanced Energy Management Alliance, Arcadia, Coalition for Community Solar Access, Earthjustice, Evergreen Action, Green Latinos, GRID Alternatives, Local Solar for All, Moms Clean Air Force, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Solar Energy Industries Association, Vote Solar, We Act for Environmental Justice