The Obama administration has a launched a $15 million solar energy package in its battle to combat climate change.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and White House counselor John Podesta announced the program aimed at pushing solar energy on the local level during the Solar Summit on Thursday in the White House, according to The Hill
Talking to energy and business executives from across the country, Podesta said, "We need leaders like you in the coming weeks and months to deploy solar power in your communities.
"If you do, we can curb the dangerous greenhouse gas emissions that are damaging our climate, we can make our communities more resilient against severe weather, we can bring clean affordable energy to American homes and businesses, and we can create jobs and create opportunities for American workers," he said, according to The Hill.
The new Solar Market Pathways program is an attempt by the Obama administration to expand the amount of clean, renewable energy used by state, local and tribal governments.
Although the cost of solar panels has fallen by 60 percent since 2010, green solar power only accounts for just 1 percent of the energy used in America, The Hill said, citing Energy Department statistics.
Anya Schoolman, executive director of the Community Power Network, a Washington-based nonprofit group that helps communities build renewable energy projects, said, "Now is the time for solar."
"The costs are affordable, in reach of middle America and above. We know how to do it now, we know how to scale it, and we kind of just need people to let it go and encourage it," she told The Washington Post.
At the summit, the administration also announced a "Capital Solar Challenge," urging federal agencies, military bases and other federally-subsidized buildings to use solar power.
The Defense Department, the largest consumer of energy in the U.S., has already committed to deploying 3 gigawatts of renewable energy on military installations by 2025, The Hill reported.
But critics say the push for solar energy comes at the cost of oil and gas production.
Citing a report by the Congressional Research Service, William Yeatman, a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said that oil production has plunged by 6 percent on federal lands and natural gas production has declined by 28 percent with fewer drilling permits from 2009 to 2013.
"They are continuing to throw good money on green energy," Yeatman told TheBlaze.
"They want to prohibit energy that works and subsidize energy that doesn’t work."
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