WASHINGTON (7News) — President Joe Biden’s administration announced $8 billion of investments and opportunities to accelerate solar energy access across the country.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm visited the Brentwood Reservoir community solar site in Northeast D.C. where the Biden administration announced the initiatives to strengthen the nation’s solar supply chain.
“We want this to be a pilot project for what is happening across the country with the President’s Investment in America agenda and the incentives to roll out both community solar like this, but also rooftop solar for people,” Secretary Granholm said.
7News spoke with the cofounders of Urban Ingenuity before the announcement on Thursday.
“This is a 1.8 megawatt solar project, so that powers 500 homes of electricity,” said Ian Fischer, a co-founder of Urban Ingenuity.
The solar field is set to go online this year for low- and middle-income D.C. residents.
“We are thrilled that this project can be the anchor for launching the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Bracken Hendricks, a co-founder of Urban Ingenuity.
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The D.C. Solar for All program was a grand prize winner in the first U.S. Department of Energy American-made Sunny Awards for equitable community solar:
“Solar for All aims to bring the benefits of solar energy to 100,000 low to moderate income families in the District of Columbia. The DC Department of Energy and Environment is partnering with organizations across the District to install solar on single family homes and develop community solar projects to benefit renters and residents in multi-family buildings. All Solar for All participants should expect to see a 50% savings on their electricity bill over 15 years and can be proud to have gone solar! In order to be eligible, residents must meet the income guidelines below.”
Here is where low- and middle-income DC residents can apply for the solar program.
White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe joined Secretary Granholm on Thursday for the climate announcements in D.C.
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“This is what solving climate crisis looks like,” said Zaidi.
“We are going to be able to provide 60 grants to states, tribal governments, and municipalities,” said McCabe.
And financing has been a barrier to solar access, Granholm said.
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“One of the pieces of this announcement is identifying there are 25 teams across the country who will be able to do community solar and have access to finance from entities that have raised their hands and said ‘we want to finance smart projects,” said Granholm. “Five billion of financing comes and is available to these 25 groups to spread community solar around.”
Armed with new tools and funding from Congress and the President, Secretary Granholm says it’s ‘all about deployment’ and building solar infrastructure across the country.
“Deploy, deploy, deploy. The goal is to get to 100 percent clean electricity by 2035,” said Granholm. “The sun is free. It is cheap. The price has dropped by 80 percent or more because of technology advances. It can bring down people’s bills.”