Virginia awarded more than $156M in fed funding for solar energy in low-income communities – Augusta Free Press

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solar native flowers

After a second growing season, Virginia native flowers surround solar panels at Cople Elementary School in Westmoreland County.

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia announced $156,120,000 in federal funding to help low-income and disadvantaged communities in Virginia more easily access solar energy.

Awarded to the Virginia Department of Energy, the funding will help eliminate barriers to solar development in the Commonwealth by reducing upfront costs, enabling broader access to leasing and power purchase agreements, increasing access to financing for low-income homeowners, and removing barriers to interconnection. The funding will lower energy costs for families and create good-quality jobs while advancing tackling the effects of climate change.

“Solar energy is one of the keys to addressing the climate crisis and has the added benefit of reducing energy costs for families,” the senators said. “Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, communities across the Commonwealth will benefit from these lower energy costs while gaining access to good-paying jobs and continuing to tackle to effects of climate change.”

The funding is awarded through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Solar for All program, which is made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and helps lower energy costs by making energy efficient appliances more affordable, invests in home energy repairs and supports the costs of solar projects.

Warner and Kaine have long supported efforts to expand and promote clean energy across the Commonwealth. In August, Warner broke ground on the largest-ever clean energy project at a U.S. airport alongside Dominion Energy, which will power 37,000 homes and businesses in Northern Virginia. Last year, Kaine hosted an event with the U.S. Department of Energy in Big Stone Gap to bring local leaders, state and federal government officials, and businesses together to strategize on how to take advantage of the IRA’s clean energy provisions and help create jobs and boost economic development in Virginia. Warner and Kaine have advocated for and secured hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding for initiatives that reduce utility costs for Virginians, including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

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