Solar for All

Washington awarded $156 million Solar for All grant to support access to solar for income-qualified residents.

Technicians installing solar panels

 

On April 22, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Washington would receive a $156 million Solar for All grant to make solar energy accessible to income-qualified Washingtonians. The Department of Commerce submitted an application to the EPA on behalf of the state in the fall of 2023 that was informed by public engagement (see below). Commerce is leading the implementing of Solar for All for the benefit of all Washingtonians.

The U.S. EPA Solar for All program is part of the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund which was created by the federal Inflation Reduction Act. Solar for All is designed to advance equity, environmental, and energy justice priorities in support of federal Justice40 Initiative goals to deliver benefits to disadvantaged communities.

Commerce’s proposal was designed to fill critical gaps in current and historic solar programs, by focusing on 1) single-family homes owned by income-qualified households, 2) community solar, 3) multifamily buildings and 4) tribes. More details on each of these programs will be forthcoming and Washington’s Tribal Solar Program under Solar for All will be co-develop in partnership with tribal nations located in the state.

Timeline

We are in the early phases of award negotiation and look forward to sharing updates with stakeholders and the public by fall 2024. We requested a full program planning year in our application and thus, funding is unlikely to be available until fall of 2025. If you think you may meet the income qualification requirements for Solar for All, you can reach out to the email address below to express interest in participating in the program when it launches in late 2025.

Resources

Solar for All Application Materials

PLEASE NOTE: Commerce requested $250 million in our proposal, the maximum amount of funding allowed for a state of our size. Like the vast majority of grantees, our request was cut 37% to an awarded amount of $156 million. Part of our work in the coming months will be focused on adjusting our proposal in light of this new budget.

Solar for All Public Workshop Materials

There is a long history of solar deployment in Washington state and Commerce was eager to utilize existing expertise and prior experience to inform our Solar for All proposal. As a result, we issued a Request for Information that was open June 9-30, 2023. We received 77 responses which provided insights into the barriers to solar access and to joining the solar workforce in our state.

On August 22, 2023 Commerce held a public webinar with 154 participants to present our draft Solar for All proposal and receive feedback. We also offered an online comment form as an alternate method to collect feedback. Approximately twenty comments were collected, either through the form, the email address, or directly communicated to staff. In September 2023, we presented at an annual meeting of the Affiliated Tribes of the Northwest Indians (ATNI) to share initial ideas and tee-up future tribal consultation.

 

 

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