Prove your humanity

This story comes from our partners at WHYY.

Households with low incomes in Pennsylvania will get more access to solar power in the coming years.

That’s the promise of the Biden administration’s Solar for All grants, announced Monday to mark Earth Day.

“Not just solar for some folks,” said White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi in a press briefing Friday. “Really making sure that we’re opening up a market where everybody, no matter their ZIP code or their economic background, can tap into the savings opportunity that clean energy represents.”

The grants, funded through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, total $7 billion and will go to 49 state-level entities, six tribes and five multi-state projects. Officials estimate they’ll serve over 900,000 households.

The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority will receive more than $156 million to put toward residential-serving solar, energy storage and infrastructure upgrades to enable solar. The projects will focus on low-income and disadvantaged communities, including so-called energy communities, where a significant number of jobs and local tax revenue are tied to fossil fuel-related energy projection.

The authority will put some of the money toward workforce development, with the goal of helping people who previously worked in the fossil fuel industry transition to jobs in the solar and energy efficiency fields.

Biden administration officials say the projects funded with the Solar for All grants will save households nationwide over $350 million annually on energy bills.

“I’m … looking forward to these funds getting out into the community, giving people skills, putting them to work in their local communities and allowing people to save on their energy bills so that they could put those dollars to other needs — a child’s college fund or that car repair or medical bill,” said Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe during Friday’s briefing. “We’re saving families money, protecting public health, creating good-paying jobs and building a cleaner and healthier future where solar technology is affordable and accessible for all.”

The Biden administration also announced the first jobs available through its American Climate Corps on Monday. They include three listings in Philadelphia: an urban forestry fellowship, a solar panel installation internship and a green stormwater infrastructure fellowship. All three would begin in late July and last several months, paying $15 to $16 per hour. Applications are due July 1.

Activists from Philly were among those that pushed for the creation of the Climate Corps.