Historic Announcement Advances Solar For Tens of Thousands of Households with Low Incomes

Chris Carnevale | April 22, 2024 | Clean Energy Generation, Solar

New programs unveiled today in a historic announcement will help make solar energy more accessible for people with low income and in disadvantaged communities throughout the Southeast. The Solar For All program, run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced awardees today, making available more than $750 million across the Southeast states of Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, and South Carolina. The grants are part of the $7 billion being awarded today nationally. Solar For All is a brand new program, created by Congress and President Biden as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.

The funds will enable thousands of households with low incomes and in disadvantaged communities in each state to be powered by solar, reducing their bills by hundreds of dollars each year and lightening the environmental footprint of energy consumption. Some households that participate in the program will also benefit with housing upgrades associated with solar, since up to 20% of the funds can be spent on “enabling upgrades” such as electrical system upgrades, structural building repairs and energy efficiency.

Solar for All will help low-income households nationwide, but the $750+ million awarded to the Southeast will be particularly impactful. This region has some of the least affordable energy bills in the entire country. Affordable solar can not only empower homes, it can reconcile historic inequities. 

Here are the awards in our region:

  • Georgia: $156,010,000 to the Capital Good Fund (more info here)
  • North Carolina: $156,120,00 to NC Department of Environmental Quality (program summary here)
  • Florida: $156,120,000 to SELF (Solar and Energy Loan Fund) (program summary here)
  • Tennessee: $156,120,000 to TN Department of Environment and Conservation (program summary here)
  • South Carolina: $124,440,000 to SC Office of Resilience (program summary here)

Additionally, $156,120,000 was awarded to Groundswell to run a Southeast regional program that extends more broadly than SACE’s five-state focus area, and hundreds of millions of dollars were awarded to other multistate and multitribe initiatives that may fund projects in the Southeast.

These awards come after a competitive application process in which applications were submitted last fall. Today’s announcement marks the selection of awards from the federal government to state and regional level programs, but it will still take some time before residents will be able to apply to participate in the programs. EPA anticipates beginning to distribute funding to the state and regional program administrators starting in June, and many awardees will take a year to refine the plans for their programs. Resident and community involvement in those planning processes will be critical in helping ensure the success of the programs. All funds from the program will be spent over the next five years.

Solar energy can lower people’s bills, improve the reliability of the electric grid, and help solve the climate crisis. The Solar For All grants announced today will help deliver these benefits to families and households who would otherwise have limited ability to take advantage of solar. SACE applauds the federal government and the awardees announced today for facilitating this historic program, and is excited to see people in the Southeast start to benefit.

Chris Carnevale
Chris is SACE’s Climate Advocacy Director. Chris joined the SACE staff in 2011 to help with building public understanding and engagement around clean energy solutions to the climate crisis. Chris…
My Profile