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Local News

Household solar in Colorado gets boost from federal grants announced on Earth Day

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by Lindsey Toomer, Colorado Newsline
April 22, 2024

The Colorado Energy Office and the Oweesta Corporation, a Longmont-based tribal nonprofit, will each receive $156 million from the Environmental Protection Agency to help low- and moderate-income families install rooftop solar panels.

The award, announced as part of President Joe Biden’s celebration of Earth Day, comes from the EPA’s “Solar for All” competition, which allocated $7 billion for 60 selected applicants to create or expand low-income solar access. The program is part of the Inflation Reduction Act’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, and the EPA estimates it will help more than 900,000 households in disadvantaged communities develop solar energy.

“It’s exciting to receive this major funding to help more Coloradans save money with solar energy while creating a cleaner environment for future generations,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement. “This award will help rapidly deploy more low-cost solar energy across Colorado.”

Colorado will use the funding to help install solar for single-family and multifamily homes as well as community solar. Interested parties in Colorado including housing advocates, nonprofits, financial institutions, local government and solar industry experts helped prepare the state’s application to the Solar for All competition. 

“Expanding access to rooftop and community solar energy will not only help us achieve our clean energy goals, but will also lower energy bills, and expand the use of solar energy for a wide variety of energy needs,” Colorado Energy Office Executive Director Will Toor said in a statement. 

The Oweesta Corporation will create a program to “address adoption barriers to Native residential and community solar deployment” by working with solar service providers, Tribal governments and organizations and developers to facilitate installations all around the country, according to an EPA news release.

“Oweesta Corporation is incredibly grateful to be chosen as an awardee for the Solar for All program,” Chrystel Cornelius, president and CEO of the Oweesta Corporation, said in a statement. “This funding provided by the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund initiative will ensure Native communities can equitably participate in the clean energy economy and will provide the opportunity for energy independence, cost saving benefits and energy resiliency for Native communities across the nation.” 

Other programs that support the expansion of solar in Colorado include the energy office’s Weatherization Assistance Program, which helps pay for home energy improvements to income-qualified residents, and the Residential Energy Upgrade loan program, which offices low fixed interest rate loans for home energy improvements up to $75,000, with repayment terms up to 20 years.

This story is republished from CO Newsline under a Creative Commons license. Read the original story.