Wisconsin has received a $62.4 million solar energy grant for low-income households – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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MADISON — Wisconsin will receive a $62.4 million federal grant to help fund solar systems for low- and moderate-income households throughout the state, Gov. Tony Evers’ office announced Tuesday.

The announcement comes the day after Earth Day, the holiday inspired by Wisconsin’s former governor and U.S. senator, Gaylord Nelson, more than 50 years ago.

“This will help support the important benefits of renewable solar energy for low- and moderate-income households across our state through rooftop residential, multifamily, and community solar projects,” Evers said in a statement. “These investments will help Wisconsin build upon our work toward achieving 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050 while creating good-paying jobs, reducing reliance on out-of-state energy sources, and lowering energy costs for Wisconsin homeowners and renters.”

Here’s what to know about the grant.

What is the source of the grant funding?

President Joe Biden on Monday announced that the Environmental Protection Agency would distribute $7 billion in grants through its “Solar for All” grant competition — a component of the federal Inflation Reduction Act’s $27 billion “Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.”

Wisconsin is among 60 states, territories, Tribal governments, municipalities and nonprofits to receive the federal grant money. According to the White House, the program will bring solar power to more than 900,000 households in low-income and disadvantaged communities.

How did Wisconsin secure its grant?

In its application for the grant, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation said the solar installation would help prevent nearly 2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions from harming the state’s environment annually. 

“We seek to create an energy system that is renewable and works for all. The grant represents a huge step forward in that effort,” said WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes in a statement.

The average cost in Wisconsin for a 5-kilowatt rooftop system is $14,000 to $19,000 before federal tax credits and local incentives, according to the governor’s office.

“To overcome such challenges and provide equitable access to affordable clean energy to low-income households, the Wisconsin Solar for All initiative will leverage private capital to maximize federal Solar for All funding and build a sustainable financial assistance program beyond the initial five-year program timeline,” the governor’s office said.

How does Wisconsin compare with other states on solar energy?

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Wisconsin currently has more than 1,251 megawatts of installed solar statewide, ranking it at 21 of 50 states with the highest use of solar power.

When will the grants start funding solar projects?

WEDC expects to start funding projects later this year or in early 2025.

More:Dane County has been named a nationwide leader in solar power

Jessie Opoien can be reached at [email protected].

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