March 2023 Newsletter
ICAST Experts Weigh In: The Inflation Reduction Act: Potential for Scaling Solar in Underserved Communities
Sam Lipman | Director of Solar Programs
Mr. Lipman is responsible for developing shared solar projects, thus furthering ICAST’s work to help underserved communities benefit from clean energy solutions.
While solar PV generation in the U.S. has grown dramatically, this growth has not translated into significant access for low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities. Compared to the broader population, solar adopters tend to identify as non-Hispanic white, be primarily English-speaking, have higher education levels, work in business and finance-related occupations, and live in higher-value homes. Median solar adopter annual income in 2021 was approx. $110,000—almost double the median annual income for all households nationwide.
ICAST’s focus is serving LMI households living in multifamily affordable housing (MFAH) and disadvantaged communities (DACs). We are continually finding new ways for our customers to benefit from energy efficiency and renewable energy. As we have previously reported, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) includes billions of dollars in grants and loans to spur financing and deployment of clean energy projects that cut greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. A large portion is reserved for/designed to benefit DACs, energy communities, and other communities in need. Read more here
ICAST Policy Blog
White House Announcements
U.S. Department of Energy Launches Community Power Accelerator Prize
The Community Power Accelerator Prize is a $10 million prize competition designed to expand the ecosystem of community solar project developers by providing funding, resources, tools, and training to new and established developers. Eligible entities include U.S. community solar developers, including new developers, co-developers (organizations partnering with a project developer), and those expanding their community solar operations. The Prize aims to support community solar projects in becoming “credit-ready,” i.e., ready to seek funding from investors and philanthropic organizations. Credit-ready community solar projects have clearly defined financing, ownership, and subscriber models with a strong plan from conception to completion. The Prize has three phases and the deadline for eligible participants to compete in the first phase is March 15.
U.S. Department of Energy Announces the Buildings Upgrade Prize
The Buildings Upgrade Prize (Buildings UP) “is designed to accelerate the transformation of U.S. buildings into energy efficient and clean energy-ready homes, commercial spaces, and communities.” It is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and is part of the American-Made Program. Buildings UP is offering more than $22 million in cash prizes and technical assistance to accelerate widespread, equitable energy efficiency and building electrification upgrades. Community-based organizations, state and local governments, Indian tribes, building owners, utilities, nonprofit organizations, energy efficiency program implementers, and other organizations are encouraged to team up and apply. Buildings UP has four proposed phases, and Phase 1 opened for submissions on February 18, 2023. Read more here
Funding for Green Upgrades and Preservation
Ravi Malhotra, ICAST Founder & President, March 2023 NH&RA
Engaging Multifamily Owners
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provided the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with approximately $35 billion that is relevant to multifamily affordable housing. These funds are for emissions reduction projects, and multifamily housing can access them to facilitate green upgrades for affordable housing preservation. Read more here
Since 2021, ICAST has been a host site for Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) members. Some VISTA members from that first year went on to other organizations, while some stayed with ICAST. Recently, new VISTA members joined the team. Their hard work and dedication help us reduce low-income households' energy burdens, preserve affordable housing, and fight climate change.
Read more here
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