The Environmental Protection Agency has launched a new $7 billion grant competition to increase solar power for low-income households.
The initiative, known as the Solar for All competition, was created by the Inflation Reduction Act’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The fund enables participants to vie for up to 60 grants to states, territories, Tribal governments, municipalities, and eligible nonprofits to create and expand low-income solar programs with financing and technical assistance to enable low-income and disadvantaged communities to deploy and benefit from residential solar.
“Solar is the cheapest form of power available, so it helps lower energy costs while creating good-quality jobs, advancing environmental justice, and tackling the climate crisis,” the White House said in a statement.
The funds can go toward expanding existing low-income solar programs as well as developing and implementing new Solar for All programs nationwide. Residential solar programs help cut down energy costs for consumers and improve energy resiliency. The program specifies that the Solar for All program will help low-income and disadvantaged communities experience certain benefits, such as a minimum of 20% total electricity bill savings for households.
The program was announced by EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in Waterbury, Vermont, on June 28, while touring a residential solar project.
The grant is open to states, territories, Tribal governments, municipalities, and eligible nonprofit recipients, as well as coalitions led by an eligible lead applicant. The 60 awards include three award options for applicants:
- State and Territory Programs: For programs that serve a specific state or territory geography
- American Indian and Alaska Native Programs: For programs that serve American Indian and Alaska Native communities
- Multi-state Programs: For programs that serve similar communities that face similar barriers to residential distributed solar deployment in multiple states
Applications for the competitive grant competition are open until September 26, 2023. Applicants are required to submit a Notice of Intent to apply to this competition, with varying deadlines states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico need apply by July 31, 2023; territories (specifically, The Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands), municipalities, and eligible nonprofit recipients need apply by August 14, 2023; and Tribal governments and Intertribal Consortia should apply by August 28, 2023.
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