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California is funding solar panels for low-income residents

California has launched the Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing (Somah) scheme, which provides $100 million annually in public funding to install solar panels on the rooftops of affordable housing units.

Since 2019, over 100 low-income rental buildings have benefited, and by 2030, Somah aims to install 300MW of solar across the state, enough for 150,000 low-income families.

Solar power growing, but unevenly distributed

Solar power still accounts for only 3.4% of US electricity generation, although the country expects to add a record 32GW of new capacity in 2023, a 52% increase over 2022. California has by far the most residential panels installed, but the majority are on the rooftops of high-income earners.

Solar panels for low-income residents

Recognizing the need for broader access to solar energy, the US government launched the $7 billion Solar for All program in June 2023. This program aims to address both climate change and economic challenges by increasing low-income households' access to clean energy and creating green jobs in the process.

Globally, the need for solar energy is growing rapidly

To achieve net zero emissions by 2030, experts estimate that 100 million households worldwide will need to rely on solar panels, compared to 25 million today. California's leadership in providing clean energy solutions for low-income communities serves as a valuable model for other states and countries to follow.

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