Apr 22, 2024 - News

Harris County wins federal solar grants

Photo of a solar plant

More solar plants to come. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Harris County and Texas Southern University programs will receive more than $400 million in federal funding for residential solar projects.

The big picture: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on Earth Day that 60 applicants had been selected for its $7 billion Solar for All program.

  • The program is funded by the Inflation Reduction Act, which aims to support low-income and disadvantaged communities by providing rooftop solar systems and access to community solar farms.

State of play: The Harris County-led Texas Solar for All Coalition received $249.7 million to make home solar projects more affordable and create programs for residents to find good-paying clean energy jobs.

  • Harris County is leading a coalition of Texas municipalities — including Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Waco — that represents more than 11 million low-income and disadvantaged people.

The intrigue: Some residents could see their electricity bills go down by as much as 20% through the expansion of access to rooftop and community solar power, with anticipated annual household savings for certain low-income households averaging $1,700.

  • Statewide, Texas Solar for All aims to significantly reduce carbon emissions, per the proposal.

Plus: The Clean Energy Fund of Texas, in partnership with Texas Southern University and other historically Black colleges and universities, also received just over $156 million to deploy solar projects at the institutions and in the community.

What they're saying: "By expanding access to rooftop and community solar, we will assist families facing high-energy costs and help keep Harris County the epicenter of the energy transition," Precinct 4 Commissioner Lesley Briones said in a statement.

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