How Biden’s clean energy plan transformed our home, and our legacy

Photo by Mischa Keijser | Getty Images

My husband and I were both teachers when we bought our dream family home in 1988, where we raised our two children. Then, in 2016, we both retired and realized two things. 

First, we had always been Earth-conscious and as an important part of that commitment, we wanted to install solar panels and save money on our utility bill during our retirement, but the installation costs and the financial benefits were neither affordable nor available. 

Second, Donald Trump was elected president and funneled all tax priorities to the oil and gas giants through his Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, not us.  

Trump’s tax cuts kept all of the oil industry’s substantial existing tax breaks and even provided a new subsidy for how the companies could deduct the costs of capital expenditures, such as drilling equipment, lowering their tax burden even more. As a result, oil companies, not environmentally conscious homeowners, enjoyed $25 billion in immediate tax breaks. 

So, for the next four years, our environmental values were completely disregarded, our Earth-conscious dreams for our home dashed, and inflation spiraled.

As a widow, I worked hard to get Joe Biden elected, not even realizing the full impact that Biden’s clean energy plan would have for me and our family home. Arizona residents could realize up to $369 billion in labor and climate investments.

For me personally, that meant that I could finally upgrade our home to reflect the Earth consciousness that Frank and I had held for decades yet had not been able to support in our home. It also meant that a great deal of my widow’s pension and Social Security could be spent on quality retirement living rather than on utility expenses. 

By 2030, the clean energy plan will save the average American taxpayer $1,000 a year in energy costs, a true blessing for us retired elders. I had a heat pump installed in our home and, with heating bills savings as well as the tax credit, I saved almost $2,000 the first year.  

And I got rooftop solar! This was huge. I saved on the installation and, with tax credits and my lifetime system of lower utility bills, I will ultimately save tens of thousands of dollars. I even saved on a residential battery system.

Finally, there are so many smaller changes in our home that we had wanted to make for years but had been unable to afford. Thanks to Biden’s clean energy plan, our dreams could come true at once — and with financial benefits. I was able to get a breaker box upgrade to support energy-efficient appliances, improved insulation and weatherization of my doors and windows.  

The utility bill savings and tax credits have actually changed my lifestyle — no small feat for a widow’s fixed income — but there is no financial compensation that can close to the pride and gratification I feel to be able to finally realize the dreams that Frank and I had for doing our part to help the environment. Our home is now one that saves me money, helps the environment, and is a legacy that we can proudly leave to our children and grandchildren.

I’m now proud to stand with many of our neighbors who have been able to install solar panels and upgrade their appliances, windows, and doors. There’s a wide range of clean energy possibilities available now to American families, and those of us who are retired should be especially cognizant of the many ways we can help save the environment, upgrade our lifestyles, and save money. To learn more, Arizonans can check out the resources at Rewiring America.

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