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White House unveils new solar, energy efficiency measures

23 September 2014

Ahead of next week’s international summit on climate change, the White House unveiled 50-plus new public and private efforts Thursday to boost the use of two non-polluting power sources: solar and energy efficiency, writes

It announced $68 million in federal funds for 540 renewable power and energy efficiency projects in rural areas, including 240 solar ones. It said it’s proposing stricter rules for commercial air conditioners that could save more energy than any prior standard and it’s partnering with military bases to launch a veterans’ solar job training program.

These steps alone, it is said, will lower energy bills and cut heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 300 million metric tons through 2030 – equivalent to taking more than 60 million cars off the road for one year.

As leaders of more than 100 nations convene Tuesday in New York City for the United Nations Climate Summit, the White House has made several announcements this week to show U.S. leadership in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

On Tuesday, it announced commitments from 19 major U.S. companies — including Kroger, Target, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and DuPont — to reduce use of a coolant that’s used in many cars, homes and buildings for air conditioning and refrigeration. The coolant, which replaced earlier ozone-depleting chemicals, emits hydro fluorocarbons or HFCs, a potent greenhouse gas.

On Wednesday, the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released reports that show how much the cost of solar has fallen in the last decade as its growth has soared. Last year alone, it said the cost of installed residential and commercial solar panels fell 12% to 15%.

“This marked the fourth consecutive year of significant price reductions,” said co-author Galen Barbose. To take advantage of these lower costs, the White House announced commitments by companies and cities to increase solar use.


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