The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a US$7 billion grant competition to offer low-income households access to solar energy.
The new grant competition will provide funds to expand existing low-income solar programmes, as well as develop and implement new Solar for All programmes nationwide. EPA plans to make up to 60 awards under the competition with three award options to community groups around the country, representing specific states or territories, American Indian and Alaska Natives, and multi-state programmes.
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Solar for All programmes enables low-income households to have access to residential rooftop and residential community solar power, by providing financial support and incentives to communities that were previously locked out of investments. Additionally, Solar for All programmes guarantees a minimum of 20% total electricity bill savings for households.
“For too long, overburdened communities on the front lines of the climate crisis have been left behind and locked out of clean energy investments and climate solutions. This historic boost in solar investments will advance millions of residential solar projects nationwide, protect people and the planet, and deliver environmental justice,” said Michael Regan, EPA administrator.
Communities can apply for the grants by 26 September 2023. Eligible applicants to Solar for All programmes include states, territories, tribal governments, municipalities, and eligible nonprofit recipients. Coalitions led by an eligible lead applicant are also eligible to apply to this competition.
Applicants for all three award options can apply for a small-sized programme (US$25-100 million), a medium-sized programme (US$100-250 million), or a large-sized programme (US$250-400 million).
The latest grants are part of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) created by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
“This US$7 billion residential solar programme that I introduced and the EPA is administering is a major step in the right direction. At a time when people are struggling to make ends meet, all while dealing with the existential threat of climate change, we must make residential rooftop solar a reality for low-income and working families that need it most,” said US senator for Vermont, Bernie Sanders.