The White House launched an initiative Tuesday aimed at offering more financial incentives and financing options to hook up more low-income households with solar electricity.

The Obama administration increased its goal of getting renewable energy, chiefly solar power, installed at federally subsidized housing to 300 megawatts by 2020, up from a previous target of 100 megawatts. The White House already has surpassed that level with commitments to add 185 megawatts of renewable electricity.

Brian Deese, a senior adviser to President Obama, said cost declines in solar technology — panel prices fell about 76 percent between 2009 and 2013 — have made it more accessible to some people, but many others lack sufficient credit for financing or don't feel an incentive to purchase improvements because they don't own their homes.

Deese told reporters on a call that there is still a "significant challenge in the scope and geographic reach of solar."

While it still only provides less than 1 percent of the electricity generated in the United States, solar energy has boomed in recent years due to a mix of falling prices, federal and state incentives and the advent of third-party installation schemes. Payback periods for installing solar panels, which is the time it takes for people to recoup their money on their investment, have roughly halved in recent years as panel prices have fallen, Deese said.

"The payback periods continue to shrink," he said.

The third-party arrangements that have come to define the solar installation model, though, have a tendency to shut out people with bad credit because they operate on long-term financing plans. One of the most popular options for installation involves companies leasing the panels to customers who pay firms for the power and for doing regular maintenance.

Such roadblocks have kept some people from benefiting from solar, said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. He said that solar and energy efficiency upgrades would make a big difference for the poorest members of his district, whom he said often must decide between which bills to pay.

"We're expanding access to solar to the people who could most benefit from the cost savings and the energy efficiency that solar provides," he said during the press call.

White House officials said the moves will help bring down the financing costs of solar and energy efficiency upgrades for residents that are on the cusp of affording those technologies.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development will release information next month designed to help building owners and businesses understand incentives and policies for adding solar power. The White House also will increase borrowing options and loan limits through a Federal Housing Administration program that will let people install solar panels at federally assisted or insured housing, and called for relaxing conditions through a federal program that allows homeowners to borrow money for energy efficiency and solar panel improvements.

As part of the White House announcement, 22 public housing authorities and affordable housing providers in Illinois, California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Washington, D.C., agreed to install new solar or other renewable energy technology. More than 30 rural electric cooperatives across 17 states also will add solar by the end of 2016, and a handful of private sector firms announced projects targeting "low- and moderate-income communities," the White House said.