KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Solar energy proponents point to national security, lower utility bills, and new jobs as key reasons for increased investment in the technology that has been around for decades but has recently become more efficient and cost-effective.

“I think all I need to do is say two words, Putin and Ukraine, for us to recognize that clean energy provides us a path to a really secure future,” said Biden Administration Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy.

McCarthy was referring to the tight spot Europe is working its way out of since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is partially supported by the large sums other countries pay to Russia for their fossil fuels.

It’s part of the reason the Biden administration announced it would be taking a series of steps trying to move solar technology manufacturing to the United States to reduce America’s reliance on other nations but also to make it cheaper to install.

“It’s about recognizing that clean energy technologies are important and they’re important enough to start manufacturing them here,” McCarthy said.

At the same time, Kansas City is rolling out its Solarize Kansas City crowdsourcing effort, trying to sign up as many people as possible to commit to installing solar panels on their homes or businesses.

“Prices keep going up for electricity and most of what we have, if not all, is coal-fired,” said Anne Collier, who was at Monday’s Solarize Kansas City launch event.

She was one of the roughly 180 people who had signed up for an assessment to see if and how solar power could work at their home or business before the program officially started.

Kansas City and a long list of partner organizations are working with a single solar power provider to install the panels in bulk. Residents have until the end of October to be part of the program.

“The more people that sign up for this program and actually contract for installation will help drive the price down for the installation,” said Kansas City Chief Environmental Officer Andy Savastino. He said those savings are before their utility bills being partially or completely offset by the power they put back into the grid through the panels.

In the next few weeks, the city plans on releasing information about a subsidy program for low and middle-income households to make sure they can participate as well.

Savastino said there has been a lot of attention around the city’s solar efforts at the airport, which could one day have 2,000-3,000 acres of solar panels on its 5,000 of undeveloped land.

This program could bring solar to households and businesses, bringing similar benefits to individual people while helping the city advance its goals around its Climate Action Plan.

McCarthy said programs like Kansas City’s help increase the demand for soon-to-be American-made solar components while removing financial barriers to getting them installed.

“The more families that actually have access to these technologies, the lower the overall cost will become and the more we, the United States, can benefit in a multitude of ways,” McCarthy said.

Before the event started on Monday, the city said it had about 180 signed to up get an assessment of their property to see how solar installation might work for them. It would take into account their current utility bills, how efficient their home already is and how to improve it, and how to best install the panels for the maximum impact.