August 02, 2023

Warren Encourages Massachusetts Communities to Apply for EPA Solar Funding Program for Low-Income Families

EPA’s New Solar For All Program Will Put Billions Towards Residential Solar Panels for Low Income Families, Helping to Close Solar Energy Equity Gap

“Massachusetts communities are already benefiting from millions of dollars of federal investments to help them make their residential and commercial systems cleaner and more efficient, and I believe they will also be competitive for the newly announced funds.”

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to the Massachusetts Municipal Association, 60 Commonwealth municipalities, and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah urging these groups to apply for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Solar for All program – which provides grants to expand access to residential solar energy for low-income families. The Solar for All Notice of Funding Opportunity is currently soliciting applications nationwide, with a deadline of Monday, August 14, 2023 for municipalities and eligible nonprofits to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to apply; and a deadline of Monday, August 28, 2023 for Tribal governments and Intertribal Consortia to submit a NOI. Final application packages must all then be submitted by Tuesday, September 26, 2023.

Senator Warren sent letters to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe; the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah and 60 Commonwealth municipalities: Amherst, Aquinnah, Arlington, Attleboro, Avon, Barnstable, Boston, Braintree, Brockton, Cambridge, Carver, Chilmark, Cohasset, Concord, Edgartown, Danvers, Deerfield, Fall River, Foxborough, Framingham, Gloucester, Hadley, Hingham, Hopedale, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Marblehead, Marlborough, Millis, Nantucket, Needham, New Bedford, Newton, North Andover, Northampton, Oak Bluffs, Peabody, Pittsfield, Plymouth, Provincetown, Quincy, Randolph, Revere, Rockland, Rockport, Salem, Scituate, Seekonk, Somerville, Sturbridge, Tisbury, West Tisbury, Wareham, Watertown, Weston, Weymouth, Winchendon, Winthrop, and Worcester; and the Massachusetts Municipal Association. 

“The [Solar for All] program will ‘expand the number of low-income and disadvantaged communities primed for residential solar investment by awarding up to 60 grants to states, territories, Tribal governments, municipalities, and eligible nonprofits to create and expand low-income solar programs that provide financing and technical assistance, such as workforce development, to enable low-income and disadvantaged communities to deploy and benefit from residential solar.’ In addition, Solar for All’s workforce development programs will ‘invest in training workers from low-income and disadvantaged communities … creating opportunities in high-quality, long-term careers in the clean energy industry,’” wrote Senator Warren.

In the letter, Senator Warren explains that the Inflation Reduction Act contains numerous programs that support residential solar, including expanding the existing Residential Clean Energy Credit to allow consumers to claim a tax credit of up to 30 percent of the costs of residential energy efficient property, such as the installation of solar – which could give 7.5 million more families the ability to install solar panels, which in turn would save them $9,000 over the life of the system or at least $300 per year. Senator Warren notes that these benefits of solar are particularly crucial for low-income families, who have on average significantly higher energy burdens than wealthier families, but still have trouble accessing residential solar. The Solar for All program can help overcome these barriers to access.

Much of Massachusetts’s current operating solar energy comes from rooftop panels on houses and businesses, and recent analysis has shown that Massachusetts has plenty of room to scale up solar energy, including in residential and commercial areas. There are immense benefits of expanding this distributed residential solar. Residential solar power can help families save on home energy bills, protect them from the price shocks of fossil fuel energy, enable families to keep the lights on even during times of grid disruption, improve air quality and public health outcomes, and increase the value of a home, while also creating good-paying, clean energy jobs.

“I fought hard to ensure this historic investment was included in the IRA. Massachusetts communities are already benefiting from millions of dollars of federal investments to help them make their residential and commercial systems cleaner and more efficient, and I believe they will also be competitive for the newly announced funds,” continued Senator Warren. 

“It is essential that we ensure all households can access these benefits and be part of the clean energy future. Solar for All will fund long-lasting programs that will transform markets and the status quo, ‘putting billions of dollars of solar panels on the homes of low-income families and closing the equity gap in access to solar energy.’ I highly encourage you to make the most of the opportunities provided through the Solar for All program, and I look forward to working with you to bring this funding home to your community,” concluded Senator Warren.