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The Sun Comes Out on Earth Day: EPA Announces Recipients of $7 Billion Solar For All Grants

The Sun Comes Out on Earth Day: EPA Announces Recipients of $7 Billion Solar For All Grants

On Earth Day, April 22, the Biden administration issued its final selections for grants from the $27 billion Green Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) – 60 selectees who will share $7 billion appropriated by the Inflation Reduction Act to fund the Solar for All grant competition. The programs proposed by the 60 selected applicants (which include states, municipalities, tribal communities and nonprofits) cover all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and U.S. territories. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has scheduled a public webinar on the Solar for All selections for April 29.

Selection of the Solar for All recipients follows on the heels of EPA’s April 4 announcement of its selections for $20 Billion in GGRF grant awards under the under two competitions to fund a national green bank network,  three selections under the $14 billion National Clean Investment Fund, and five selections under the $6 billion Clean Communities Investment Accelerator. Now that all of the selections have been made for the three GGRF competitions, and the $27 billion in the GGRF has all been allocated, the path is clear for the U.S.’ largest investment ever to combat the climate crisis by mobilizing financing and private capital for greenhouse gas and air pollution reducing projects in communities across the country.

The Solar for All applicants selected have committed to deliver on the three objectives of the GGRF: reducing climate and air pollution; delivering benefits to low-income and disadvantaged communities; and mobilizing financing to spur additional deployment of affordable solar energy. They have also committed to meet or exceed Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which set a goal that 40 percent of certain federal climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, and other investments flow to communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.

The EPA expects the selected Solar for All programs to enable over 900,000 households in low-income and disadvantaged communities to benefit from residential rooftop and residential serving community distributed solar energy projects. In addition to generating an estimated 200,000 jobs, the EPA said, 

“This $7 billion investment will generate over $350 million in annual savings on electric bills for overburdened households. The program will reduce 30 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions cumulatively, from over four gigawatts of solar energy capacity unlocked for low-income communities over five years. Solar and distributed energy resources help improve electric grid reliability and climate resilience, which is especially important in disadvantaged communities that have long been underserved.”

The EPA further estimates the average low-income household will experience approximately $400 in annual savings on their electricity bills. In the aggregate, it is anticipated that households across the country will realize over $350 million in annual savings, resulting in more than $8 billion in cumulative savings over the 25-year asset life of standard solar projects.

The EPA anticipates that final Solar for All awards will be made by the statutory deadline of Sept. 30, 2024. Administrative requirements will be completed on a rolling basis throughout the remainder of the calendar year. Grant recipients should begin funding projects through existing programs and commence community outreach programs to launch new programs in fall and winter 2024.

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