This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

May 14, 2014

President Obama Announces Advances for Solar Deployment and Energy Efficiency

On May 9, President Obama announced more than 300 private and public sector commitments to create jobs and cut carbon pollution by advancing solar energy and energy efficiency. The commitments represent more than 850 megawatts of solar deployed—enough to power nearly 130,000 homes—as well as energy-efficiency investments that will lower bills for more than 1 billion square feet of buildings.

The President announced new executive actions that will lead to $2 billion in energy-efficiency investments in federal buildings; smarter appliances that will cut carbon pollution by more than 380 million metric tons—equivalent to taking 80 million cars off the road for one year—and will save businesses nearly $26 billion on their energy bills; and training programs at community colleges across the country that will assist 50,000 workers to enter the solar industry by 2020.

Additionally, more than 300 organizations including multifamily housing, homebuilder and home improvement, rural electric cooperative, commercial sector (including retailers, food service, and hospitality), and public sector (including states, cities, school districts), announced commitments to solar energy.

The President also announced new initiatives to further support solar deployment. The Building a Skilled Solar Workforce initiative will enable a skilled workforce to support the growth of solar deployment across the United States. The Energy Department's Solar Instructor Training Network will support training programs at community colleges across the country that will enable 50,000 workers to join the solar industry by 2020. This builds upon Energy Department's existing Solar Instructor Training Network of nearly 400 community colleges in 49 states that have trained over 22,000 people to join the solar industry since 2010.

The Energy Department and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are also partnering to advance available educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields to support energy literacy and employment opportunities in the solar sector for public housing residents.

The President also announced an additional $2 billion goal in federal energy-efficiency upgrades to federal buildings over the next three years. The challenge issued on May 9, in combination with the initial commitment of $2 billion in 2011, will result in a total of $4 billion in energy-efficiency performance contracts in the federal sector through 2016.

In addition, the Energy Department is launching a High Performance Outdoor Lighting Accelerator to increase the adoption and use of high efficiency outdoor lighting in the public sector. This accelerator is aimed at replacing more than 500,000 outdoor lighting poles and developing best practice approaches to municipal system-wide upgrades. See the White House fact sheet and the Solar Progress reportPDF.