EnergizeNC: North Carolina’s Solar for All Initiative

Federal Solar Program: Solar for All

On June 28, 2023, the EPA launched an exciting $7 billion funding opportunity called Solar for All, a key part of the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund that Congress approved under the Inflation Reduction Act. The Solar for All competition aims to bring more low-income and disadvantaged communities into the fold, readying them for investments in residential and community solar projects. The competition plans to award up to 60 grants across the nation, benefiting states, territories, Tribal governments, municipalities, and qualified non-profits. These grants will vary, ranging from $25 million to a whopping $400 million.

On October 11, 2023, the North Carolina EnergizeNC coalition, spearheaded by the State Energy Office of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and joined by partners such as Advanced Energy, the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, and the North Carolina Clean Energy Fund, proudly submitted their application for the EPA Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund’s Solar for All grant. In their application, the coalition set forth an ambitious plan. 

They asked for $250 million to roll out a comprehensive and fair program aimed at swiftly setting up distributed solar power and related storage solutions. This initiative promises significant advantages for over 20,000 low-income and disadvantaged communities throughout North Carolina, including areas recognized by the state and federal governments as tribal lands. By the end of the five-year program, the coalition aims to have installed at least 69.5 megawatts of residential solar power.

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Solar for All in North Carolina: EnergizeNC Program Goals

The EnergizeNC coalition is setting the stage for a brighter future in North Carolina, especially for its low-income and disadvantaged communities. They’re rolling up their sleeves to craft programs that pack the biggest punch in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, easing energy costs, and making life better for everyone. Here’s a peek at their game plan, broken down into four big goals:

Goal #1: They’re kicking things off with a bang by developing a top-notch project management strategy. Over the next year, they’ll be all ears, listening to what low-income and disadvantaged communities need and want, making sure their voices lead the way.

Goal #2: Next up, they’re tackling the big issue of climate change head-on by setting up rooftop solar panels on low-income homes and apartment buildings all over North Carolina. They’re not stopping there, though; they’re also making sure community solar options are within reach, helping everyone enjoy cleaner air and lower energy bills, and moving the needle on environmental justice.

Goal #3: The coalition is on a mission to build a powerhouse of skilled workers ready to spread solar energy across the state. They’re focusing on bringing opportunities to minority and tribal communities, ensuring the journey towards solar is paved with fairness, honesty, and protection against any shady deals.

Goal #4: Last but certainly not least, they’re going all-in on community engagement. They’re making sure the perks of their projects reach the folks in disadvantaged communities, ensuring everyone gets a fair share of the goodness that comes from going green.

With these goals in sight, the EnergizeNC coalition is lighting the way for a more sustainable and equitable North Carolina.

Energy costs savings for Low Income Families

North Carolina needs the Solar for All program more than anywhere else. Here, lower-income households and communities of color often struggle to find funding for solar energy projects. They’re weighed down by hefty energy bills and the pollution from fossil-fuel power plants, while policies and regulations also block their path to solar power.

In the North Carolina, families with lower incomes are missing out on the clean energy movement sweeping our country. They face energy costs that are triple those of middle and upper-income homes. Plus, policy roadblocks and the initial costs make it tough for them to switch to solar.

But here’s the good news: Solar for All is stepping in to lighten the load. This program zeroes in on families spending more than 6% of their income on energy, aiming to cut at least 20% off their average monthly utility bill. The funds are earmarked to assist lower-income communities, offering a beacon of hope. With solar prices on the decline, this initiative could significantly reduce utility bills, for low-income households.

EnergizeNC Timeline Courtesy of nc.gov

EnergizeNC What Is it Going to Look Like?

EnergizeNC is all about making a big, positive splash for North Carolina families. They’re putting their money where their heart is, channeling their financial support into programs that promise real energy savings for homes in three key ways:

  1. They’re going to light up single-family homes with rooftop solar panels, and in some special cases, they’ll add storage to the mix too. This means more power from the sun and less reliance on costly energy sources.
  2. For multifamily housing run by nonprofits and public groups, EnergizeNC is stepping in with behind-the-meter solar installations. This move is set to brighten the lives of families living in these buildings, making energy more affordable and sustainable.
  3. The cherry on top? Community solar pilot projects. EnergizeNC is teaming up with city utilities and electric co-ops to launch these programs, which are designed to cut down energy bills for everyone who joins in. It’s all about pooling resources for the greater good, making clean energy a win-win for communities across the state.

8MSolar Is Here to Help

If you have any questions as to how EnergizeNC impacts you, reach out to the solar professionals at 8MSolar to help walk you through if you can take advantage of the program in the future. EnergizeNC’s goals are in lockstep with 8MSolar; to provide affordable renewable energy to anyone that is looking to make a difference in the world. This puts us one step closer to energy sustainability.

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