HARC and The Texas Solar for All Coalition Awarded Historic $250 Million EPA Funding to Close Solar Equity Gap in Texas

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As a Coalition member, HARC represents partners in Port Arthur and El Paso (outside of ERCOT) and will administer residential rooftop and community solar programs in Harris County and Houston.

Houston, Texas (April 22, 2024) – On Earth Day, HARC is pleased to announce that the Texas Solar for All Coalition (Coalition) was awarded a $249.7 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. By receiving this historic grant, the Coalition will help accelerate investments in low-income solar and storage, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, close the solar equity gap for energy-burdened low-income families, and create good green jobs in the Lone Star State.

About 11 million Texans live in “disadvantaged communities,” a term used by the federal government to describe areas that have been marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. Many in these communities have disproportionately high energy bills and less energy efficient homes, causing some residents to have to cut their spending on household necessities, such as food and medicine, to pay their energy bills. Distributed solar resources can help address these issues.

The Coalition unites representatives from cities, counties, nonprofits, and community partners to collaborate on the shared goal of providing solar opportunities to one of the largest populations of disadvantaged communities in the nation. Coalition members represent large municipalities, small and mid-size cities and counties, and span urban, suburban, and rural areas of the state. Led by Harris County, the full Coalition includes HARC, City of Houston, Dallas County, City of San Antonio, Opportunity Home, City of Austin, City of Waco, Texas Energy Poverty Institute (TEPRI), Clean Energy Fund of Texas, and several more local and county Texan partners, representatives, and community-based organizations.

John Hall, HARC’s President and CEO, states, “HARC is proud to be part of the Texas Solar for All Coalition and grateful for the significant support received from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help bring the benefits of clean solar power to low-income and disadvantaged communities across Texas. Low-income Texans find themselves facing rising energy bills, energy insecurity, and disconnection from the electric grid due to their limited incomes and health-compromising conditions during increasingly frequent extreme weather events. Through this Coalition’s delivery of distributed solar, we will be able to provide much-needed locally generated electricity, substantially reduced emissions, and improve the lives of many Texans. We welcome and look forward to playing our part in this historic effort.”

The goal of the EPA-funded Texas Solar for All Coalition is to transform access to distributed solar in low-income and disadvantaged communities in Texas, create new community wealth and savings through energy cost reductions, equity opportunities, and access to good-paying clean energy jobs. To do so, the Coalition designed Texas-wide programs to support community solar, residential multifamily and single family solar, battery storage, and energy efficiency deployments which will improve community well-being and resilience. These programs will also support workforce training to serve low-income and disadvantaged residents, support minority- and women-owned businesses, and collaborate with many community-based organizations.

As a Coalition member, HARC, in partnership with local community-based organizations, will be administering the Hub Home and Community Hub Program in Harris County and Houston, a hybrid residential-serving community solar and residential rooftop program. During power outages these Hubs will be able to serve as community resilience hubs.

HARC will also be partnering with TEPRI and local entities in utility service areas outside of the ERCOT region to provide residential community solar. In Port Arthur, HARC and local partners will administer a program to install community solar projects on public buildings, prioritizing multifamily affordable housing projects and emergency shelters. In El Paso County, HARC and TEPRI will work with local partners to deliver community solar in rural areas.

Over a five-year period, the Texas Solar for All Coalition is expected to deliver distributed solar to over 46,000 low-income and disadvantaged Community households, about 225 MW of distributed solar facilities and 85 MWh of battery storage, reduced statewide emissions by over 310 thousand tons/year, and an average of $17 million in annual household electricity bill savings. These numbers will be adjusted during negotiations to match the amount awarded. These savings will translate to lowered customer bills by at least 20% in targeted residential communities and will help put Texas on the right path to helping the U.S. reach its emissions reduction goals.

EPA’s announcement on Solar for All competition here.

More information on the EPA’s Solar for All competition and selections here.