Solar Grant Program

Energy Retrofits for Public Buildings

Solar Energy grants provide competitive funding to install solar at public buildings and facilities, such as schools, hospitals, civic buildings and wastewater treatment plants. These grants cut energy costs, reduce pollution and showcase solar projects in communities across the state.

Now Accepting Applications: 2022 Request for Applications

Commerce is now accepting applications for the 2022 Solar Grants with up to $1.2 million available. Applications are due by May 25, at 4 p.m.

Program documents

Pre-application conferences

Commerce will hold two pre-application conferences for stakeholders to learn about program guidelines and ask questions. Both sessions will contain the same content, and all answers to questions from the session will be posted in the written Q&A document.

Key changes from previous RFAs:

  • Additional communities will be eligible for a lower match requirement
  • Projects in certain priority communities will receive a preference for awards
  • Projects in small cities and towns will receive at least 20% of awards
  • The maximum award amount will be lowered to $250,000
  • The maximum payback period will be reduced to 35 years

The RFA includes full details and definitions.

Applicants must be public entities in the state of Washington, such as:

  • Local agencies, including any city, town, county, special district, municipal corporation, agency, port district or authority, or political subdivision of any type, or any other entity or authority of local government in corporate form or otherwise.
  • Public higher education institutions
  • K-12 public school districts
  • State agencies
  • Federally-recognized Tribal governments
  • Non-governmental organizations are not eligible for this grant.

Grants will fund new solar photovoltaic systems net-metered with existing publicly-owned (including Tribally-owned) buildings or facilities in Washington. Projects must be between 20 kW AC and 100 kW AC and must provide 50% of the total project cost from other, non-state sources. Total project cost for this purpose excludes any contingency funds.

Projects located in certain priority communities will have different requirements: the minimum project size is 10kW AC, and the minimum match requirement is 33% of the total project cost, excluding any contingency funds. These projects will also receive additional preference during selection. The priority communities will include:

  • Rural: Projects not located in a city or town that has a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants and the urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to such a city or town, as defined by the USDA Rural Energy Pilot Program.
  • Highly Impacted Communities: Projects located in a census district with a census tract with an overall rank of 9 or 10 on the Environmental Health Disparities V 1.1 tool created by Washington Department of Health, or any census tract with Tribal lands, as listed in the Environmental Health Disparities tool.
  • Lower-income: Projects located in a city, county, or Tribal Area with an area median income less than 80% of State Median Income (currently $59,020), according to the American Community Survey 5-year estimates. Use the median income of the incorporated city in which the project is located, or the county if the project is located outside of an incorporated city. Tribes may instead use the median income of Tribal Areas (Reservations and Off-Reservation Trust Lands), as defined in the American Community Survey, for projects that are located in these areas.
  • Tribal communities: Projects of federally recognized Tribal governments.

Projects which meet these criteria will receive higher scores, but a project is still eligible to apply to this grant if it does not meet some or all of these criteria:

  • Projects with shorter calculated payback period.
  • Projects that provide more funding from other sources, above the minimum requirements.
  • Applicant has not received funding for solar from this program previously.
  • Projects that use modules or inverters manufactured in Washington.
  • Projects with lower cost per watt.
  • Projects in priority communities as described above in the eligible projects section.
  • Projects that demonstrate community input and benefits.

Please sign up for email updates to receive RFA announcements and other updates about this program.

All dates in 2022

  • March 31 – May 20: Questions accepted by email and Q&A posted online biweekly
  • April 6: 1 p.m. – First virtual pre-application conference (optional)
  • April 14: 9 a.m. – Second virtual pre-application conference (optional)
  • May 25: Applications Due by 4 p.m.
  • July: Awards Announced

Solar equipment made in Washington

Solar energy grants through this program will prefer projects using equipment manufactured in Washington. Commerce has issued a Request for Information for manufacturers to submit information about their products manufactured in Washington.

Commerce has received the following information from manufacturers about equipment manufactured in Washington. In publishing this information, Commerce is not endorsing or recommending these products, but is rather seeking to provide information about place of manufacture that is not readily available to grant applicants.

If manufactured in Washington equipment is not listed here, it may still qualify for the preference. Applicants should include the equipment information sheet completed by the manufacturer and a signed cover letter from the manufacturer. See the RFA for additional details.