Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wants to make it easier for low-income families to use solar energy to power their homes, saying it could help decrease their monthly bills.
“While the cost of solar panels has gone down in recent years, it is still out of reach for millions of low-income families that need it the most,” Sanders said in a statement. “Families across this country struggle to pay electricity bills and access to solar energy can help reduce these costs.”
The 2016 presidential candidate introduced legislation Tuesday that would establish a fund under the Department of Energy that would either help pay for the installation of solar panels for low-income families who own their home or loan money to organizations that want to provide access for low-income families to solar facilities.
The fund would also prioritize loans from woman- or minority-owned small business, according to a fact sheet from Sanders’ office, as well as reserve funding for solar facilities on Indian tribal lands, the Appalachia region and Alaskan native communities.
Sanders suggested that low-income families currently aren’t able to fully utilize solar power, even though he says they are under the most financial pressure from increases in utility prices.
“Many low-income families who would benefit the most from a reduction in their electricity bills are not taking advantage of this affordable, sustainable energy source because of a combined lack of access to financing options, and living under a roof that cannot support a solar panel,” according to the senator’s fact sheet.
Sanders added that his legislation “can achieve this goal, save families money and protect the planet for future generations.”