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US launches $7bn grant competition to fund solar in low-income communities

Funded, naturally, by the Inflation Reduction Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have launched a $7 billion grant competition through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to increase access to ‘affordable, resilient, and clean solar energy’ for millions of low-income households.

The new grant competition will provide funds to expand existing low-income solar programmes as well as develop and implement new Solar for All programmes nationwide. These programmes ensure low-income households have access to residential rooftop and residential community solar power, often by providing financial support and incentives to communities that were previously locked out of investments. 

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan at the launch of the programme

Up to 60 programmes will be funded, with the amount of funding provided being dependent on the number of homes that will benefit from it. The sums awarded are expected to range from $25m up to $400m for the largest projects.

‘Solar For All’ forms part of President Biden’s ‘Justice40 Initiative’, which aims to ensure that 40% of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalised, underserved, and overburdened by pollution. 

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said: ‘For too long, overburdened communities on the front lines of the climate crisis have been left behind and locked out of clean energy investments and climate solutions. Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, this historic boost in solar investments will advance millions of residential solar projects nationwide, protect people and the planet, deliver environmental justice, save families money, and create good-paying jobs. All communities deserve to participate in America’s growing clean energy economy and under this competition, we will bring more communities along, working together to build a healthier and cleaner future for all.’

U.S. Senator Tom Carper (DE), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said: ‘As we work to build a clean energy future, we must do so in a way that benefits all Americans – no matter their zip code or income. When developing the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, we intended for $7 billion of the program’s investments to target residential and community solar projects in communities with the greatest need. I’m pleased that the Biden-Harris administration’s Solar for All grant program is going to help deploy clean energy to millions of households, lowering energy costs and creating good-paying jobs across our nation.’

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