April 2023 Newsletter


ICAST Experts Weigh In: Available Federal Tax Credits, Incentives, and Grants for Underserved Communities 

Ravi Malhotra: Founder and President| Mr. Malhotra's focus is finding financially sustainable models to solve the affordable housing crisis while tackling climate change. He manages the design and implementation of all ICAST programs and initiatives.  

Kristen Cheriegate:  Senior Policy Analyst | Ms. Cheriegate navigates ICAST through the policy world to obtain real-world solutions, funding resources, and networks with potential partners to provide more services to low-moderate-income households. 

ICAST is expending a lot of resources and efforts to remain current on all funding opportunities that will benefit low-and-moderate-income (LMI) households and offer environmental justice and social equity via tax credits and other incentives. Previous ICAST publications on these topics have provided a broad perspective on some of these resources; here, we have compiled a more comprehensive list with detailed descriptions of the relevant and valuable funding to our customers and LMI households.

179D Tax Deduction: This tax deduction for commercial building (incl. MF) owners and designers has been increased on a sliding scale of $0.50/sq.ft. for energy savings of 25% and up to $1/sq.ft. for energy savings of 50% or greater. There is a 5X multiplier if the rehab is done with prevailing wages.

45L Tax Credit: provides a $2.5K/apartment tax credit for new MF buildings that meet EPA's ENERGY STAR Residential New Construction Program and $5K/unit credit if bldg. meets DOE's Zero Energy-ready requirements. The credit is 1/5th the value if construction does NOT use prevailing wages.  Read more here


New tools and tech to prep your electrical panel for an all-electric home

Barry Cinnamon, a longtime Silicon Valley solar entrepreneur and CEO of Cinnamon Energy Systems, is a big advocate of fully electric-powered homes. He’s also put his money where his mouth is, converting his own home heating and cooking — and the car he drives — to run on electricity supplied by his solar panels and battery as well as the grid.

Cinnamon identified a number of challenges to going all-electric — getting ahold of the latest high-efficiency heat-pump air and water heaters, finding contractors familiar with the technology and techniques for installing them, and combining various rebates and incentives to help shoulder the higher costs involved.

But one of the biggest potential stumbling blocks is out of sight and out of mind for typical homeowners: the electrical panel. These ubiquitous metal boxes full of circuit breakers are the conduits between household electrical circuits and the power flowing from utility power grids. Read more here


This is the year Vicki Spooner and her family finally got cosy at home in the Cornish village of Stithians. The village is not on the gas grid, so for years Vicki, her husband and two boys relied on an oil boiler, which coughed clouds of noxious fumes on to their patio.

Then the family was offered the chance to join a groundbreaking new project that might change the way many homes are heated — particularly in off-grid villages and on new estates.

Heat the Streets is a groundbreaking new project being pioneered in Stithians, Cornwall, by Cornish heat-pump manufacturer Kensa, claiming to be a commercial first in the UK. It can warm radiators to 55C.

The scheme involves drilling boreholes 100 metres underground, where liquid can absorb heat at a constant 10C-12C. This is then piped into people’s homes, where the warmth is extracted by a ground-source heat pump.  Read more here

Scales Environmental Justice

ICAST Policy Blog
White House Announcements

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $550 Million to Advance Environmental Justice

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of $550M from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to expedite investments through EPA’s new Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking (EJ TCGM) program. This program will fund up to 11 entities to serve as grantmakers that will develop an efficient, simplified process for organizations to apply for grants that address environmental harms and risks. Eligible entities include community-based nonprofit organizations and partnerships thereof (additional information can be found in EPA’s announcement). For the potential 11 selected entities, EPA intends to make awards of up to approx. $50M each, to be funded incrementally over a three-year period. The deadline to apply is May 31, 2023.

EPA Announces Initial Program Design of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF)

As ICAST previously reported, the IRA provided the EPA $27B for a new GGRF, with the aim of mobilizing financing and leveraging private capital for clean energy and clean air investments across the country. EPA recently released initial guidance on the Fund, announcing that GGRF dollars will be distributed through two competitive grant competitions. Approx. $20B will be awarded to create a national network of eligible nonprofits that will facilitate the technical assistance and capacity-building necessary to strengthen the ecosystem of community-based organizations, financial institutions, and others, [that is] required to accelerate the transition to an equitable net-zero economy and catalyze the jobs of the future. Seven billion dollars will be awarded to states, tribes, municipalities, and eligible nonprofits to enable the deployment of residential rooftop solar, community solar, and associated storage and upgrades in low-income and disadvantaged communities. The EPA anticipates opening applications in the early summer of 2023.  Read more here


ICAST Secures Contracts to Grow its Clean Energy Efforts in Underserved Communities

ICAST has been busy forming new partnerships with federal and state agencies, utility companies, and others to deliver clean energy retrofits in multifamily affordable housing (MFAH). It has also been working with its existing partners to act on new opportunities. A few highlights of ICAST’s recent efforts are provided below:
   •    ICAST received an award from the New Mexico (N.M.) Mortgage Finance Authority (MFA) to continue managing New Mexico’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) for Multifamily for 2023-2024. 
   •    ICAST recently officially signed the contract to partner with MFA on a U.S. Dept. of Energy Sustainable Energy Resources for Consumers grant in N.M. This work includes transforming WAP Projects into Grid Efficient Buildings by installing solar photovoltaic, battery energy storage systems, heat pump water heaters, air source heat pumps, and building energy management systems in multifamily projects. Read more here


Working to Revitalize Democracy: The New Power Project 

The New Power Project is a relatively new initiative that will seek out values-driven individuals who have grown up in marginalized or underserved communities and help them run for elective office. It will work to break down barriers that so often prevent these individuals from seeking and winning public office, such as a lack of social capital, a lack of a fundraising base, and the lack of the "right credentials."  In so doing, it aims to expand the pathways into an elected office for a new generation of servant leaders.

 “The New Power Project is important to me because I know intimately what support Opportunity Youth, like myself, need to take back power in their communities, to redesign leadership and policy by being brave enough to run for office locally or statewide. I want to be of service of young adults for pathways out of poverty to elected seats.” — District Leader Shaquana Boykin

Read more here

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