Thursday, September 23, 2021

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States are poised to help resettle Afghan evacuees who fled their home country after the U.S. military exit; efforts emerge to help Native Americans gain more clean energy independence.

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Sen. Mitch McConnell refuses to support raising the debt ceiling; Biden administration pledges $500 million of COVID vaccine doses globally; and U.S. military says it's taking steps to combat sexual assault.

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A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

Plan to Convert 1 in 4 AZ Homes to Solar Would Bring Jobs, Lower Bills

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Monday, July 26, 2021   

TEMPE, Ariz. -- A new report shows federal investment to help convert 30 million homes to distributed solar power could mean big energy savings and job growth for Arizona and other states.

The study, produced by the 30 Million Solar Homes Initiative, said a federal commitment to convert one in four houses across the country would be the same as taking 42 million hydrocarbon-powered vehicles off the road for a year.

It also would lead to the creation of 1.7 million jobs, including thousands in Arizona, focused on rooftop and community solar installations.

Katie Kienbaum, senior researcher for the Energy Democracy Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, said the policy recommendations also focus on addressing racial inequity in the nation's energy system.

"If we want to see these benefits in communities across the country in all different income levels, we need to make sure that we are intentionally investing in those communities and not just hoping that the benefits of clean energy will trickle down to all of us," Kienbaum asserted.

Kienbaum pointed out the proposal would prioritize solar power installations in low-income and marginalized communities.

The report showed in Arizona, the impact of distributed solar power could mean $1.5 billion in electric bill savings over five years. The report also called for increased funding for programs such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Weatherization Assistance Program.

Kienbaum emphasized the number of new jobs created would bring a major boost to all facets of the American economy.

"The job potential is really just huge from rooftop and community solar systems," Kienbaum contended. "It takes a lot more people to scramble on rooftops, put solar panels up, versus building them in a huge field."

The campaign calls for $500 billion in federal investment for local solar and clean-energy projects over the next five years. The report noted implementing the program would be comparable to closing 48 coal-fired power plants for a year.

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