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Biden-Harris Administration announces Utah Governor’s Office of Energy Development to receive $62.45 million to deliver residential solar, lowering energy costs and advancing Environmental Justice

Salt Lake City — As the Biden-Harris Administration celebrates Earth Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the Utah Governor’s Office of Energy Development has been selected to receive $62,450,000 through the Solar for All (SFA) grant competition to develop long-lasting solar programs that enable low-income and disadvantaged communities to deploy and benefit from distributed residential solar. This award is part of the historic $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which was created under President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act to lower energy costs for families, create good-quality jobs in communities that have been left behind, advance environmental justice, and tackle the climate crisis. 

Utah, in collaboration with a diversified group of regional cross sector stakeholders, will launch a new Transformative SFA Initiative titled SFA of Utah (S4AU). The comprehensive program takes advantage of Utah’s abundant solar potential to strengthen the market for deploying residential-serving solar and creating meaningful benefits disadvantaged and low-income homes throughout the diverse regions of Utah. S4AU will support rooftop solar through inclusive financing alternatives, robust community engagement, workforce development, and innovative partnerships with proven capabilities to accelerate renewable energy across Utah communities. The S4AU initiative is intentionally designed to bring modernized energy to the Utah low-income market as part of a statewide just and equitable transition. Currently, Utah has populations with no electricity or who are dependent on life-essential powered medical devices. The formative stages of S4AU are prioritizing Utahns who are at-risk from lack of electricity and/or unplanned power outages. 

“Although solar technology has become more affordable for residential use, many communities still face cost barriers to access,” said Regional Administrator KC Becker. “One of our goals with the Greenhouse Gas Reduction fund is to make clean energy more accessible, especially for communities who are both overburdened by climate change impacts and disproportionately excluded from green technology resources. The Solar for All program will make access to cleaner energy more equitable for Utah communities.”   

Utah Governors Office of Energy Development is among 49 state-level awards EPA announced today totaling approximately $5.5 billion, along with six awards to serve Tribes totaling over $500 million, and five multistate awards totaling approximately $1 billion. 

A complete list of the selected applicants can be found on EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Solar for All website

EPA estimates that the 60 Solar for All recipients announced today will enable over 900,000 households in low-income and disadvantaged communities to deploy and benefit from distributed solar energy. This $7 billion investment will generate $350+ million annual savings on electric bills for overburdened households. The program will reduce 30 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions cumulatively from over 4 GW of clean energy capacity. In total, solar projects funded by this program will generate over $8 billion in household savings over the 25-year lifetime of the assets. Solar and distributed energy resources help improve electric grid reliability and climate resilience as well, which is especially important in disadvantaged communities that have long been underserved.  

Solar for All will deliver on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to creating high-quality jobs with the free and fair choice to join a union for workers across the United States. This $7 billion investment in clean energy will generate an estimated 200,000 jobs across the country. All selected applicants intend to invest in local, clean energy workforce development programs to expand equitable pathways into family-sustaining jobs for the communities they are designed to serve. At least 35% of selected applicants have already engaged local or national unions, engagement that demonstrates how these programs will contribute to the foundation of a clean energy economy built on strong labor standards and inclusive economic opportunity for all American communities.  

The Solar for All program also advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which set the goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, and other investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. All of the funds awarded through the Solar For All program will be invested in low-income and disadvantaged communities. The program will also help meet the President’s goal of achieving a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035 and net-zero emissions economy by no later than 2050. 

The 60 selected applicants have committed to delivering on the three objectives of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund: reducing climate and air pollution; delivering benefits to low-income and disadvantaged communities; and mobilizing financing to spur additional deployment of affordable solar energy. Solar for All selected applicants are expanding existing low-income solar programs and launching new programs. In 25 states and territories nationwide, Solar for All is launching new programs and opening new markets for low-income, residential solar by providing subsidies and low-cost financing so that households in low-income and disadvantaged communities can build and access affordable solar energy for the first time. 

Review and Selection Process Information 

The 60 selected applicants were chosen from 150 applications to the Solar for All competition. The 60 selected applicants were selected through a robust competition review process. This multi-staged process included hundreds of experts in climate, power markets, environmental justice, labor, and consumer protection from across EPA, Department of Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Department of Treasury, Department of Agriculture, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Labor, Department of Defense, and the Department of Energy’s National Labs – all screened through ethics and conflict of interest checks and trained on the program requirements and evaluation criteria – participating in the review, scoring and selection of the applications through dozens of review panels and an interagency senior review team.  

EPA anticipates that awards to the selected applicants will be finalized in the summer of 2024 and selected applicants will begin funding a projects through existing programs and begin expansive community outreach programs to launch new programs. Selections are contingent on the resolution of all administrative disputes related to the competitions. 

Informational Webinars 

EPA will host informational webinars as part of the program’s commitment to public transparency. EPA has scheduled a public webinar for the Solar for All program, and registration details are included below. Information on other GGRF webinars can be found at EPA’s GGRF webpage

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