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

As a Coalition member, TEPRI represents partners in Brownsville, Laredo, and El Paso (outside of ERCOT) and will support the administration of residential rooftop and community solar programs.

Austin, Texas (April 22, 2024)  – TEPRI 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 TEPRI, the City of Houston, Dallas County, the City of SanAntonio, Opportunity Home, the City of Austin, the City of Waco, HARC, the Clean Energy Fund of Texas, and several more local and county Texan partners, representatives, and community-based organizations.

Margo Weisz, TEPRI’s Executive Director, states, “The Texas Solar for All Coalition is a united effort to bring the benefits of clean energy to households with low incomes across the state. We are grateful for the significant support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and to Harris County which is leading the effort. Our recent Community Voices in Energy Survey identified how Texans with low incomes struggle with energy bills and how they have a strong interest in clean energy and being included in an equitable energy transition. The Coalition’s delivery of residential solar will provide a pathway for Texans to meet their energy needs while providing much-needed locally generated electricity. This historic investment, announced on Earth Day, signals a meaningful commitment to an energy landscape that includes all Texans.”

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 and 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, TEPRI will be working with The Brownsville Public Utility, The City of Laredo, and El Paso County to administer a residential-serving community solar and residential rooftop program.

Over the next five years, 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, reducing 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 the Solar for All competition here.

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

Media and research inquiries can be directed to Margo Weisz, TEPRI’s Executive Director, at margo@tepri.org