September 2023 Policy Blog

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Kristen Cheriegate  |  ICAST Policy Analyst


Inflation Reduction Act Arrives at One-Year Anniversary
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) directed over $369B toward incentives for nearly every corner of the clean energy industry. A year later – nearly $200B in tax credits stand at the center of IRA’s goals to clean up the two biggest sources of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions: transportation and power plants. Billions of dollars are getting ready to be funneled into households, helping them switch to electric vehicles, replace fossil fuel-powered heating and cooling systems with more efficient electric heat pumps, install solar panels, and insulate homes. The think tank Rhodium Group found the IRA could cut emissions up to 48% from their peak by 2035. For multifamily affordable housing owners and managers, you can get a quick estimate of the benefits potentially available through IRA and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) via ICAST’s IRA/BIL Savings Calculator.

White House Announces Actions to Lower Housing Costs and Boost Supply
The Biden-Harris Administration’s recently announced new efforts that will lower housing costs by tackling challenges that have stifled affordable housing for decades, which will support its Housing Supply Action Plan. Some of these include: (1) Reducing barriers to building housing, like restrictive and costly land use and zoning rules; (2) Expanding financing for affordable, energy efficient, and resilient housing; and (3) Promoting commercial-to-residential conversion opportunities, particularly for affordable and zero emissions housing.

HUD Announces Additional Resources in Support of the Housing Supply Action Plan
The first announcement is through the Pathways to Removing Obstacles to Housing (PRO Housing), which will provide $85M in innovative competitive grants for communities to identify and remove barriers to affordable housing production and preservation. Grants for this funding will range from $1M to $10M. Secondly, HUD is providing public housing authorities and multifamily housing owners who are participating in the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) with new tools to repair and build affordable housing. This can be found through HUD’s supplemental RAD notice, which provides additional flexibility for housing providers.

Michigan Signs Bipartisan Laws on Clean Energy
Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed bipartisan bills that foster clean energy growth, create good-paying, high-skill clean energy jobs, and lower energy costs for Michiganders by removing the sunset on the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP). Notably, Michigan House Bills 4317 and 4318 allow local governments and commercial solar energy developments to opt into payments in lieu of taxes (PILT); Senate Bills 302 and 303 expand the eligibility of properties and projects for Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing. 

San Diego Begins Installation of Solar-Powered Microgrids on Public Buildings
The city of San Diego has begun construction on the first of eight-solar powered microgrids at public buildings such as fire and police stations, community centers, and recreation centers. Batteries will store the excess solar energy a site generates, which powers the facility in the afternoons and evenings when electricity prices rise. This work is estimated to save the city $6 million over 25 years and bring San Diego closer to its 2035 goal to power all municipal buildings with renewable energy.

New Mexico Awards Community Solar Projects
InClime Inc. recently awarded 45 projects in New Mexico’s community solar program; there remain high expectations that this will significantly benefit the state’s low-income subscribers, as the projects were selected based on their benefits to local, disproportionately impacted, and low-income communities. The award recipients have pledged to allocate at least 50% of the facilities’ capacity to low-income subscribers, and at least 30% of the energy produced at the facilities will be reserved for low-income subscribers and their serving organizations.

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