Rooftop solar energy has undergone a boom in recent years thanks to a decrease in the cost of solar photovoltaic panels and increasing concern about global warming caused by carbon-based fossil fuels. However, despite these facts and government subsidies, rooftop solar only contributes one percent to the energy needs of the United States. Moreover, rooftop solar remains exclusive to the affluent because of its large upfront costs.
The Obama administration has moved to start installing rooftop solar energy systems on subsidized housing in inner-city neighborhoods, according to Raw Story. The goal is to create 300 megawatts of electricity from these types of solar energy systems by the year 2020.
The initiative is designed to achieve a number of goals at once. First, the White House is keen to replace as many fossil fuel energy sources as possible with renewables such as solar. Second, solar energy would become available to a community that has thus far been shut out of the solar boom–renters and people with low income. Finally, the initiative would generate jobs in inner city communities as people are hired to install the rooftop systems.
The Obama administration had hitherto concentrated its solar efforts in establishing large-scale farms in the United States that capture solar energy in remote locations and transmit the electricity into the grid. The move to build more rooftop solar units in the inner city constitutes a shift in administration focus as the Obama presidency draws to a close. The initiative will have the added benefit of helping an entire community gain a measure of sustainable energy.
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