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U.S. takes community approach to solar power

Rooftop space and funds limited for major push for solar power on U.S. grid.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
White House says pooling resources could help communities advance solar power programs. Photo by Craig Russell/Shutterstock
White House says pooling resources could help communities advance solar power programs. Photo by Craig Russell/Shutterstock

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. national grid could be greener with the advancement of solar power for low- to moderate-income households, the White House said.

The White House hosted a national solar summit, saying it had support from dozens of cities, states and business in advancing the development of community-level solar initiatives. Those measures would allow communities to pool their resources to invest in shared solar-power systems.

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Since July, the White House said it had around $545 million in pledges to support the program.

"Actions like the ones announced today, will help the U.S. transition to cleaner sources of energy faster and ensure the opportunity to access clean energy is available to those who need it most," the White House said in a statement.

A September report from the Solar Energy Industries Association, with support from green energy market adviser GTM Research, found second quarter residential solar capacity grew 70 percent year-on-year to 473 megawatts.

The report finds that 10 states have installed more than 10 MW of solar power during the second quarter, up from the four reported during second quarter 2013.

In August, the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab found national median installed prices declined 9 percent year-on-year for residential systems, 10 percent for small-scale, non-residential systems, and 21 percent for larger non-residential systems.

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The White House said the average cost of solar installations has dropped by 50 percent since 2010. Advancing solar capacity, it added, is difficult because about half of U.S. households and business are renters or lack the funds or roof space necessary to install solar power systems.

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