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On Earth Day, Mayor Bowser Announces District’s Solar for All Program Awarded $62M from EPA

Monday, April 22, 2024
Funding Will Expand Solar Benefits to 19,000 Additional Low-to-Moderate Income District Households

(Washington, DC) – As the District celebrates Earth Day, Mayor Muriel Bowser today announced that the District Department of Energy and Environment’s (DOEE) Solar for All program was awarded $62.45 million from the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This funding will help expand the benefits of clean, solar energy to roughly 19,000 low- and moderate-income (LMI) District households.

“Since we established this program eight years ago, Solar for All has allowed nearly 10,000 households to save on their electric bills, supported the District’s energy goals, and pushed the District forward as an energy and climate leader,” said Mayor Bowser. “And with this additional funding, we are able to expand this program to an additional 19,000 households, doubling down on a program that we know works for the District and our future.”

The Solar for All program plays a critical role in the District’s transition to clean energy by providing access to the benefits of solar power to LMI District households. The program was established in 2016 by Mayor Bowser and the DC Council through passage of the Renewable Portfolio Standard Expansion Amendment Act. It established a goal of providing the benefits of locally-generated community and rooftop solar to 100,000 LMI District households by 2032. To date, the program has provided 9,604 households with more than 37 megawatts of clean solar energy, which represents around $5 million in annual utility bill savings. 

“This is a huge step toward achieving the District’s goal of greater reliance on renewable energy, such as solar power, and moving away from fossil fuel use,” said DOEE Director Richard Jackson. “We are even closer to Mayor Bowser’s plan of a greener, more livable District of Columbia.”

The Biden-Harris Administration announced DOEE as one of 60 recipients of funds from EPA's $7 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund competition, which is designed to deliver solar to more than 900,000 low-income and disadvantaged households nationwide. The fund is made possible through the Inflation Reduction Act, which enacted the nation’s largest investment in clean energy and climate action.

DOEE’s $62.45 million award will be spread out over five years and will build on critical local investments under Solar for All to help expand the reach of community and rooftop solar to more District households. DOEE is already beginning the expansion work alongside coalition partners the DC Green Bank, DC Sustainable Energy Utility, City First Enterprises, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Interfaith Power and Light, the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative and Groundswell.

DOEE has worked with DC Council to expand the program’s purpose to serve residents experiencing heat stress or other climate emergencies by offering greater climate resilience. In doing so, it recently funded the first resilience hub in the District at the FH Faunteroy Community Enrichment Center in Ward 7. Such an expansion will help the thousands of LMI District residents who do not pay an electric bill. More of these resilience hubs will be possible with funds, tax credits, and loans provided through the Inflation Reduction Act.

Solar for All’s success comes through its model of providing direct incentives to solar developers while leveraging additional local and federal incentives. Additionally, benefits are achieved through both net-metered rooftop solar projects for LMI single-family homeowners, as well as the deployment of community renewable energy facilities (CREFs) that generate credits for community solar subscriptions, which are necessary for most District residents who live in multi-family properties. 

Solar for All was also one of the inaugural recipients of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sunny Awards for excellence in equitable community solar development.

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