EPA sending Missouri $156M for low-interest, forgivable loans for solar energy – The Center Square

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(The Center Square) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is allocating more than $156 million to Missouri for forgivable and low-interest loans and other projects to increase solar energy capacity.

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund’s $7 billion “Solar For All” program awarded 60 applicants with funds to create new or expand existing low-income and disadvantaged communities with solar energy capacity. The EPA received requests for more than $38 billion during last year’s application process.

The Missouri Environmental Improvement and Energy Resources Authority will receive $156,120,000 and the Industrial Heartland Solar Coalition also will receive $156,120,000 for Missouri and seven additional states in the Midwest.

The competitive process was created through the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022, a 10-year program costing between $780 billion and $1.2 trillion, according to estimates by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

The EPA program will create new or expand existing low-income solar programs and enable more than 900,000 households in low-income and disadvantaged communities to acquire distributed solar energy.

The Missouri Chapter of the Sierra Club praised the funding for investing in clean energy and helping families save on utility bills.

“The program’s success hinges on the willingness of Ameren and Evergy to cooperate with the state to maximize the positive impact this could have for thousands of families,” Gretchen Waddell Barwick, the chapter’s director, said in a statement announcing the funding.

The EPA’s announcement stated Missouri’s Environmental Improvement and Energy Resources Authority will provide a combination of low-interest loans and forgivable loans to enable solar adoption, “removing long-term payment obligations associated with traditional loans…”

“We are paying attention to the realities of climate change, and St. Louis City is at the forefront of the fight for our future,” Democratic St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones said in announcing the city would receive a yet-to-be determined amount. “In our applications, we proposed expanding our Healthy Homes Program to include solar panels as an efficiency upgrade and asked the state to start a low-interest loan program for solar and storage. Sustainability issues are intersectional, affecting public health outcomes and quality of life every day.”

The Industrial Heartland Solar Coalition, with headquarters in Ohio, works in 31 communities throughout eight states in the Midwest. The organization will work to secure tax credits and “Solar For All” grants to reach low- and moderate-income households by installing residential rooftop solar units and other energy-efficient systems.

“Through our SFA program, the coalition will achieve household energy savings, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and train individuals in solar workforce development programs,” the coalition stated in its EPA application.

“With Solar for All funding, Kansas City leaders can start to keep up with demand by solarizing over 2,000 homes annually in the next few years, and these funds will support the expansion of clean, renewable energy in cities across the state,” Billy Davies, a Kansas City-based senior field organizer for the Missouri chapter of the Sierra Club, said in a statement.

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