Closing Window: Grant for Soft-Story Earthquake Retrofit in Bay Area Homes

Biden's Administration Grants More Than $3 Billion to Enhance Access to Rooftop Solar

The Biden Administration has taken a proactive stance in promoting renewable energy, particularly the use of rooftop solar panels. This initiative seeks to expand accessibility to more individuals, even those with less-than-perfect credit scores.

Recently, the Department of Energy announced an infusion of $52 million in funding for various solar projects. This, together with a separate allocation of $30 million for research and development across innovative solar technologies, was revealed in April.

In a significant move, the administration has also provided a partial loan guarantee amounting to $3 billion for the solar panel company Sunnova. This is aimed at empowering disadvantaged communities by enabling individuals with low credit scores to access rooftop solar panels. Sunnova will leverage this $3 billion guarantee to finance clean energy systems for an estimated 75,000 to 115,000 homeowners throughout the US and Puerto Rico, according to a statement from the Energy Department.

In Puerto Rico, where power disruptions from severe weather are common, the funded installations will include both rooftop solar panels and battery storage. Other Sunnova installations across the US may comprise rooftop solar panels, batteries, and virtual power plant software.

According to the Energy Department, this extensive project, which combines solar installations, battery systems, and energy-efficient software, will prevent an estimated 7.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over the 25-year life of the project.

Historically, low credit scores have been a barrier for individuals seeking to install rooftop solar panels. This funding aims to break down this barrier and also aligns with Biden’s ambitious goal of transitioning to a 100% clean electricity grid by 2035 and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The loan guarantee, however, is contingent upon Sunnova achieving various milestones, and as such, is not yet available for applications.

Sunnova has been noted as a strong player in the solar space by CNET’s review. With services available across all 50 US states and Puerto Rico, the company offers a 25-year system guarantee and a variety of financing options with no upfront costs.

Before you commit to any solar panel provider, it’s crucial to compare options. While Sunnova’s government-funded program may offer a viable solution for those with low credit scores, it’s advisable to get multiple quotes and compare terms and fees to ensure the best deal.

Additionally, the Biden administration has announced increased funding for community solar. This initiative allows those who cannot install panels due to insufficient roof space or renting status to purchase power from a nearby solar array. Typically, this arrangement can save users between 5% and 10% on their energy bills, credited against each month’s bill, while also benefiting the environment.

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