WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced initial guidance on the design of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) program, created by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
This guidance is a great first step towards realizing the enormous potential of the program, which would lower barriers to solar access, create good paying jobs, invest in underserved and overburdened communities, and put the country closer to achieving our climate goals.
The competitive grants under the $7 billion Zero-Emissions Technology Fund will help catalyze scalable and long-term private capital investments to expand deployment of community solar and rooftop projects in low-income and disadvantaged communities across the country.
As the implementation process continues, we look forward to working with the EPA and other stakeholders to ensure that we maximize the impact of the Fund.
In order to realize the full potential of the program, in line with our formal comments to the EPA RFI submitted in December, we believe the following considerations should be included in the summer solicitation.
We look forward to a program that prioritizes awards to states, tribes, municipalities, and eligible non-profits that: (1) maximize the total amount of solar that can be deployed to low-income households; (2) ensure equitable access by all low-income households; (3) maximize total financial savings and greenhouse gas reductions; (4) incorporate energy resilience; and (5) encourage award recipients to develop long-term scalable and sustainable programs that may be able to continue after funding is exhausted.
If carried out to its full potential, this program will ensure all families benefit from clean, affordable energy options. We applaud the EPA and the administration for moving in the right direction to maximize the IRA’s potential and meet our shared policy goals.
“With today’s guidance from EPA on the Zero-Emissions Technology Fund, we’re one step closer to unlocking the potential for deploying billions of dollars of private capital to create and expand equitable local solar and programs in states and localities across the country,” said Jeff Cramer, CEO of the Coalition for Community Solar Access. “This innovative program is uniquely designed to realize the full potential of community solar to provide meaningful electric bill savings and certainty and reduce climate emissions to the majority of American households without access to local clean energy.”
“The EPA guidance released today will help supercharge the resources available for states to meet these goals. Today’s actions are a fantastic first step to unlocking $7 billion for states. States are at the forefront of lowering barriers for low income communities accessing all the benefits of clean energy. The priorities placed on deploying rooftop solar, community solar, and local battery storage set a course for an effective path to lower greenhouse gas emissions in low income communities,” said Robin Dutta, Campaign Director for Local Solar for All.
“Environmental and economic justice require that we not only reduce pollution, but that we center the communities most historically impacted by our fossil fueled economy in the solutions,” said Sean Garren, Chief Program Officer at Vote Solar. “The EPA’s guidance this week means the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund can use community and rooftop solar to support economic and energy resilience in Black, Indigenous, and communities of color.”
“The Zero-Emissions Technologies Program of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund has the potential to be a tremendous catalyst for energy equity and justice around the country,” said Andie Wyatt, Policy Director and Legal Counsel for GRID Alternatives. “We are pleased to see EPA moving forward with implementing this hard-won provision of the Inflation Reduction Act, and we look forward to working with the agency, states, territories, tribes, local governments, and other community stakeholders to help ensure the Program meaningfully promotes an equitable energy transition that includes everyone.”
“Today’s guidance from EPA, which creates $27B worth of new opportunities for investment in low-income and marginalized communities is encouraging news. For Latino/es, who pay more for utilities than white households and are 80% more likely to have service disconnected by a utility provider, this is a crucial step toward a sustainable energy transition,” said Andrea Marpillero-Coloina, Sustainable Communities Program Director at GreenLatinos. “But we must persist in ensuring that these investments are effectively deployed through community based initiatives to build an equitable clean energy future for all.”
“From the start of our advocacy for the IRA, we placed particular importance on ensuring that disadvantaged communities play an important role in the clean energy transition,” said Laura M. Esquivel, Vice President, Federal Policy and Advocacy, Hispanic Federation. “We will only reach our collective decarbonization and Justice40 goals if solar is made more affordable and accessible to working class families in the coming decade. We’re pleased that this guidance will help do just that — by creating robust and equitable distributed solar and distributed energy resource programs.”
“We are particularly thrilled with the direction the EPA is setting for the Zero-Emissions Technology Program,” said Marty Hayden, Earthjustice Vice President of Policy and Legislation. “The prioritization of rooftop and community solar projects in low-income and disadvantaged communities will help ensure that those who have suffered decades of disproportionate impacts from pollution realize the benefits of a transition to zero-emission electricity. We look forward to working with EPA to ensure proper outreach and support to the most impacted communities so that they can benefit from the promises made in the Inflation Reduction Act. The clean energy transition is here, and we must ensure it is grounded in justice and equity.”