Wisconsin to boost solar power with $62.4M grant, benefiting low-income households – Fox11online.com

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(WLUK) — In honor of Earth Day, Wisconsin is receiving a federal grant to help fund solar systems for low- and moderate-income households across the state.

Wisconsin is among 60 states, territories, Tribal governments, municipalities, and nonprofits across the country receiving $7 billion awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under its Solar for All initiative to deliver residential solar projects to over 900,000 households nationwide.

Wisconsin will receive $62.4 million of that.

Over the last two years, Wisconsin has accelerated solar power deployment as a sustainable way to provide energy to power households. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Wisconsin currently has over 1,251 megawatts of installed solar statewide, increasing its ranking from 31 to 21 out of 50 states with the highest use of solar power.

With the grant, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) said the Wisconsin Solar for All Program would increase solar capacity throughout the state with a goal of serving as many low-income Wisconsin residents as possible by offering multiple avenues to the solar power market. Low-income households comprise approximately 29% of Wisconsin households.

Access to solar power can significantly reduce energy burdens for low-income residents by reducing the percentage of income currently spent on energy costs. However, the cost of installing solar systems is foremost among the barriers they face. The Wisconsin average cost for a 5-kilowatt rooftop system is $14,000 to $19,000 before federal tax credits and local incentives.

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.

EPA anticipates that awards to the selected applicants will be finalized in the summer of 2024. WEDC anticipates that it will begin funding projects late in 2024 or early 2025.

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