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White House plans rooftop solar panel initiative for inner-city neighborhoods

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The White House said it would move to put more solar panels on rooftops in poor, inner-city neighbourhoods to cut electricity bills and fight climate change.

The plan, to be unveiled on Tuesday in Baltimore, follows dozens of new initiatives rolled out by the White House since the start of the year to signal Barack Obama’s commitment to act on climate change – even in the face of Republican opposition.

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America is in the midst of a rooftop solar boom – with installation up 139,000% in the last decade , because of falling costs.

But only about 1% of the electricity moving along America’s grid comes from solar, and nearly half of all US households are shut out of solar, because they are renters or their properties are too small to install panels, White House officials told a conference call with reporters.

“We think it’s important for everybody to have access to solar energy,” Brian Deese, a senior White House adviser, told reporters.

In the new solar initiative, the White House said it wanted to make rooftop solar panels more affordable and open up new jobs in inner-city neighbourhoods. Officials said they would work with housing authorities and solar companies in 20 states to improve financing packages.

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The new initiative – the second move by Obama to expand solar since April – aimed to install 300MW of solar power in subsidised housing by 2020, officials told the call.

That’s just over half as much energy as generated by the big solar farm in the Mojave desert – one of the first big solar projects backed by Obama, which went into operation earlier this year.

But it represents a tripling of Obama’s initial target to install 100MW of rooftop solar in subsidised housing by 2020 – a goal that has already been reached thanks to falling prices for solar panels.

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“The curve is really spiking up because the costs are coming down,” Deese said.

Obama last April announced plans to train up to 75,000 new solar industry workers.

Tuesday’s initiative is the latest in a growing series of actions intended to demonstrate to the international community that Obama remains focused on climate change, ahead of a critical set of negotiations for a global warming deal in Paris at the end of the year.

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Those efforts are going to take a hit as a Republican-controlled Congress returns to work after the Fourth of July holiday, with hearings in the House and Senate challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to cut carbon pollution from power plants and the Obama administration’s focus on climate change as a security issue.

The move also suggests a pivot for Obama from large-scale solar farms to rooftop solar.

When Obama entered the White House in 2009, there were no large-scale solar farms. Now there are 17, funded by Department of Energy loan guarantees.

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guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2015

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump baselessly accuses Democratic lawmaker of ‘violence’?? in insane tweet

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President Donald Trump, in a strangely giddy and unhinged tweet on Tuesday baselessly accused Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of “violence.”

“Sorry, I don’t buy Rep. Tlaib’s tears. I have watched her violence, craziness and, most importantly, WORDS, for far too long,” Trump tweeted. “Now tears? She hates Israel and all Jewish people. She is an anti-Semite. She and her 3 friends are the new face of the Democrat Party. Live with it!”

It’s unclear what the president was referring to when he accused the Michigan Congresswoman of violence, but his other remarks appear to be directed at a press conference she held Monday.

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Trump’s Labor Department wants to ‘weaponize’ right-wing discrimination and bigotry

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Just in case you wanted to believe that the Trump administration isn’t on a campaign to trample rights for Americans, here comes the Labor Department to shove a grapefruit in your face.

Labor officials have made public a new rule—no Congress, needed, thank you—to allow companies contracting with the federal government who are “religion-exercising organizations” to ignore federal laws protecting the rights of gays, transsexuals, and who knows who else in hiring or workplace practices. Religious employers and companies with “closely held” religious ties now will be shielded from claims of bias in court or other law enforcement actions, says the rule.

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Trump warns media ‘treading in very dangerous territory’ for reporting bad poll numbers

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President Donald Trump hurled new warnings at the news media for reporting damaging stories and negative poll numbers.

The president's approval rating was measured at 43 percent by two new surveys by NBC/Wall Street Journal and Fox News, and polls continue to show him losing to various Democratic challengers.

Trump insisted Monday that his "new internal polls" show the strongest support he's had so far, and also complained that unfair media coverage kept his approval ratings low -- and he retweeted those claims with a new threat against the media.

The LameStream Media is far beyond Fake News, they are treading in very dangerous territory! https://t.co/J60JgSFhcx

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