Environmental Justice

This legislation expands the Low-Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), directs the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to create new financing programs, provides Section 8 homeowner’s interest free loans and much more. In Virginia, the solar industry employs nearly 4,000 people and produces enough solar energy to power over 87,000 homes.

"There’s no point supporting environmental causes that don’t support standards of living to help people." Adventure rock climber Alex Honnold came to that realization in 2010, when he traveled to Chad on an expedition. Struck by local communities’ lack of access to power, Honnold began to think about how he could affect global inequality while addressing climate change.

Erica Mackie is the CEO of Grid Alternatives, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that has helped nearly 15,000 low-income families to go solar at no cost. It has also provided more than 42,000 people with solar education and job training. Mackie co-founded Grid Alternatives in 2001 while working as an engineer in the private sector, and since then the organization has become a driving force for access and equity in the PV industry.

“All Americans—regardless of whether they have good credit, own a home, or live in multi-family building—deserve to be able to access solar energy,” Duckworth said. “I’m proud to be introducing this legislation with Senator Booker and Congressman McEachin that would make it easier for low-income Americans to use solar energy and lower their utility bills, which will help our nation reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, combat climate change and decrease air pollution.”