Solar is about to get a lot more affordable for low-income households – Canary Media

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The Biden administration is making a historic $7 billion investment in solar initiatives for low-income families. The funding will help nearly half of U.S. states to create such programs for the first time — and enable the other half to build on existing progress.

To celebrate Earth Day on Monday, the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency announced 60 winners of the Solar for All grant competition, one of three initiatives of the Inflation Reduction Act’s $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The EPA granted 49 state and territory awards totaling $5.5 billion, six tribal awards worth more than $500 million, and five multistate awards amounting to $1 billion. Together, the awards cover all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. All of the funding is dedicated to low-income and disadvantaged households.

Solar for All is unprecedented,” said Warren Leon, executive director of the Clean Energy States Alliance. There’s never been an initiative anywhere near as big for expanding solar for the benefit of low- and moderate-income households across the country. This is going to give a tremendous boost to an important share of the solar market that has not received sufficient attention in the past.”

The 60 selected programs, administered by state agencies, municipalities, tribal governments, and nonprofits, will use grants and low-cost financing to develop community solar, rooftop solar, and battery storage for individual homes and multifamily affordable buildings.

In some cases, the Solar for All grants will help grow existing programs, including large ones in California and New York, Leon said. But for 25 states and territories, this will be the first time they’re getting low-income solar programs, he noted. Among the newcomers — most of them Republican-leaning states — are Arkansas, Arizona, Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

With this later start, they’ll be able to adopt the tactics that other states have wielded successfully, such as leveraging public-private partnerships, using qualifications other than a credit score for solar projects, and collaborating with community-based organizations to deploy solar more broadly, he said.

Without Solar for All, it’s highly unlikely these states would have had any significant programs” in the next five years, Leon said.

Importantly, this funding will prove to be much more than just a one-time infusion, Leon added; it’ll help de-risk” private investment in solar for low- and moderate-income households, kick-starting a market that will facilitate many millions more in future investment.

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