Biden-Harris Administration Announces “Solar for All” Grantees, Mobilizes Capital for Solar Projects in Low-Income, Disadvantaged Communities

Published Apr 22, 2024

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the list of grantees for the Solar for All (SFA) program today, a part of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The $7 billion grant competition—implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—is designed to drive investments in clean distributed solar energy for low-income and disadvantaged communities.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) strongly advocates for the acceleration of renewable energy deployment across the country, with a particular focus on ensuring the benefits of a transition to clean energy are shared equitably with everyone in our society and do not leave behind vulnerable, historically burdened communities. UCS provided feedback for state office applications to the SFA program, including the Illinois Finance Authority, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, and the Maine Governor’s Energy Office. UCS also facilitated learning sessions with national groups such as GreenLatinos.

A recent UCS study found that for the U.S. to meet its climate goals—including cutting economywide heat-trapping emissions in half by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions no later than 2050— total distributed solar capacity would need to more than quadruple from 33 GW in 2021 to 134 GW in 2035 (14% of total solar capacity), and increase nearly 7-fold to 225 GW in 2050 (11%). UCS estimates that at least 25 gigawatts (GW) of solar could be installed on 3.6 million households in low-income and disadvantaged communities by 2035 due to the SFA program and other incentives for low-income households in the IRA.

For more information on SFA and other clean energy programs in the IRA, see this new blogpost by Brady Watson, senior campaign coordinator for the Climate and Energy Program at UCS.

Below is a statement by Paula García, senior energy analyst and energy justice lead at UCS.

“The Solar for All grant program is a key part of the larger suite of clean energy investments advanced by President Biden and Congress that will help the United States combat climate change. Directing investments toward low-income and disadvantaged communities is imperative to ensuring a just transition to clean energy. If we don't prioritize these populations, we risk exacerbating historical injustices and piling additional burdens on those who have been disproportionately affected by environmental harm.

“The announcement of these grants is an important step forward. While UCS research has shown clearly that more ambition is needed to meet climate goals, phase out fossil fuels and advance environmental justice, the Solar for All program will help create much needed momentum toward ensuring the many benefits of a decarbonized economy, including public health protections, reduced consumer energy costs and increased energy resilience, are reaching everyone.”