Democratic presidential candidate and Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont, proposed legislation this week that would spend $3 billion on solar panels for the poor over the next 15 years.

Sanders' bill, the Low Income Solar Act, is similar to legislation he's proposed in prior Congresses. But his latest proposal as a presidential candidate shows he's dead-set on pursuing huge programs that intersect with his support for publicly funded infrastructure, environmental preservation and helping people in the lower income brackets.

"While the cost of solar panels has gone down in recent years, it is still out of reach for millions of low-income families that need it the most," Sanders said of his bill. "Families across this country struggle to pay electricity bills and access to solar energy can help reduce these costs."

Sanders offered his legislation on the same day the White House put forward a plan to build solar panels on federally subsidized housing. The details of that plan have yet to be released, but the Department of Housing and Urban Development is expected to release more details in the coming weeks.

RELATED: White House ups pay to put solar panels on poor people's roofs

Sanders' bill would put real money behind the effort to put solar panels on the rooftops of poor people's homes. He's proposing spending $200 million a year on loans and grants through the Department of Energy.

That amount would be available every year through 2030, for a grand total of $3 billion. His legislation appropriates $200 million each year, but doesn't fund the program through any new tax hike or spending reduction, which means the plan would add to the budget deficit.

His bill would also require the Department of Energy to prioritize loans for woman- and minority-owned businesses, as well as people in Appalachia, Indian tribal lands and Alaskan native communities.

Sanders said the poor spend a greater percentage of their money on energy, and that they need a leg up to harness the power of the sun. He also stressed that his bill is a good way to protect the environment at the same time.

"The scientific community tells us very clearly if we're going to reverse climate change and the great dangers it poses for the planet we must move aggressively to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to sustainable energy," he said. "We can achieve this goal, save families money and protect the planet for future generations."