The Department of Energy on Friday announced a target of the equivalent of five million homes powered by community solar energy by 2025.
The target would save $1 billion and contribute to administration goals of fully renewable electricity by 2035, according to the department.
“Community solar is one of the most powerful tools we have to provide affordable solar energy to all American households, regardless of whether they own a home or have a roof suitable for solar panels,” Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said in a statement. “Achieving these ambitious targets will lead to meaningful energy cost savings, create jobs in these communities, and make our clean energy transition more equitable.”
Sufficient solar power has already been installed to power 19 million households, according to the department, but much of this is unevenly distributed. Under the community solar model, a single solar array provides power that is divided between subscribers in one community. Subscribers share in the revenue, often in the form of discounted billing.
The department emphasized the model’s potential to give low-income people more access to renewable energy. Phasing out fossil fuels in ways that do not disproportionately fall on working- and middle-class people has been a major concern for the Biden administration, which has repeatedly emphasized the job-creation potential of the renewables push.
The U.S. would need to increase community solar generation by more than 700 percent to meet the 2025 target, according to the department.
The report comes a month after the Biden administration published a rough roadmap under which solar power would comprise 45 percent of U.S. electrical generation by 2050. The department’s projections outline three possible scenarios, including one in which the U.S. power grid is 95 percent decarbonized by 2035. The target would require the U.S. to double its solar energy production annually compared to 2020 over the next four years, doubling again from 2025 to 2030.