The first window to file paperwork required to participate in the Environmental Protection Agency’s $7 billion solar project funding opportunity closes in a week, and officials from the agency joined a congresswoman Friday to encourage participation in the program.
During that press event, Rep. Valerie Foushee, D-N.C., called the funding opportunity “groundbreaking,” and EPA Region 4 Chief of Staff John Nicholson said it will “transform the status quo” by “putting billions of dollars of solar panels on the homes of low-income families and closing the equity gap in access to solar energy.”
The Solar For All competition offers up to 60 grants for states, territories, tribes, municipalities and eligible nonprofits to create and expand solar programs that provide financing and technical assistance like workforce development for low-income and disadvantaged communities.
The grants will provide $7 billion in funding through the Inflation Reduction Act’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The program will offer “awards of varying amounts, calibrated to the number of households the applicant intends the program to serve,” said EPA’s Friday release.
This includes $25 million to $100 million for small programs, $100 million to $250 million for medium-sized ones, or $250 million to $400 million for larger programs.
“Applicants to Solar for All can submit separate applications to one or multiple of the three options,” EPA said. “The final quantity of awards will be determined by the number and quality of the applications as well as the optimal combination of awards across the three award options to achieve maximum geographic coverage and benefits of the Solar for All competition.”
The deadline for filing a notice of intent – required to be eligible to apply to the competition – is July 31 for states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The deadline for territories, municipalities and eligible nonprofit recipients to file an NOI is August 14, and August 28 for tribes, while the due date for applying to the competition itself is Sept. 26.
The Solar For All funding aims to ensure that low-income households have more equitable access to rooftop and community solar.
“In addition, these programs guarantee low-income households receive the benefits of distributed solar including household savings, community ownership, energy resiliency, and other benefits,” EPA said.