APRIL 22 — US President Joe Biden today will celebrate Earth Day by announcing US$7 billion in grants for residential solar projects that will power nearly a million low-income households, the White House said.

The announcement kicks off a week of activities aimed at touting the Biden administration's record on climate change.

Biden will reveal the funding during a trip to Prince William Forest Park in Triangle, Virginia, where he will also announce that applications are open to join the American Climate Corps, a program to prepare young people for jobs in climate-related industries.

Young voters, who tend to be more concerned about climate change, are a key constituency for Biden, a Democrat, as he prepares to face former President Donald Trump, a Republican, in the November presidential election.

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The US$7 billion of solar funding through the Environmental Protection Agency's Solar for All grant competition was included in Biden's landmark climate change law, the Inflation Reduction Act. It will create 200,000 jobs and save households in the program about US$400 a year, according to the White House.

Grant recipients include 60 state and local agencies and non-profits with programs to help residents in poor communities go solar and save on their power bills. The winners include several organizations with plans to provide solar to native American households in states including Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado.

Residential solar has long been regarded as difficult to access for lower-income Americans because of its high upfront cost and because less affluent people tend to rent their homes or live in apartment buildings.

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The program is aligned with Biden's goal to direct 40 per cent of federal clean energy investment benefits to disadvantaged communities.

"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," a senior administration official said on a call with reporters on Friday.

Biden will also announce that his American Climate Corps will launch a web site, ClimateCorps.gov, where applicants will be able to see 2,000 open positions in 36 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico.

The program's first class will start in June.

The Climate Corps aims to put more than 20,000 young people to work by training them, for example, to install solar panels, operate LiDAR cameras that detect methane emissions and restore mangrove ecosystems, the White House said. — Reuters