Grants Offered to Bring Solar to People with Low and Moderate Incomes

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Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 6:32 pm | Updated: 6:35 am, Wed Dec 5, 2018.

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Energy Trust of Oregon recently accepted applications for grant funding from community-based organizations and other groups involved with affordable housing. The grants will help these organizations develop innovative program models to bring solar to low- and moderate-income Oregon communities in Portland General Electric and Pacific Power territory.

Funding is available for eight to 12 grants between $5,000 and $10,000. Energy Trust’s low- and moderate-income solar innovation grants are intended to help awardees cover solar program development costs such as staff time, energy studies and professional services like consulting with a grant writer. Grant recipients can use funding to develop a new program or support and refine an existing program.

While solar energy costs have come down in recent years and more homeowners are installing systems on their roofs, barriers still prevent low- and moderate-income Oregonians from benefiting from this technology. Barriers include upfront costs, competing priorities such as rent or housing costs, lack of access to financing and limitations for renters. Despite those barriers, organizations holding trusted relationships in their communities are finding ways to make the clean energy movement more accessible for everyone.

The purpose of Energy Trust’s grant opportunity is to help communities develop replicable programs for overcoming barriers to deploying solar in low- and moderate-income households. Demonstration projects that result from these programs will also be able to access solar installation incentives through Energy Trust and may propose non-standard incentives.

"These local and trusted community organizations play an important role in advancing equitable deployment of clean energy technologies and benefits," said Betsy Kauffman, renewable energy sector lead, Energy Trust. "Through these grants, we want to provide financial resources to help them turn their innovative ideas for using solar into solutions for the people they serve."

Funded organizations can explore a range of solar program models, such as incorporating solar into new construction of affordable single-family homes; bringing solar benefits to residents of affordable multifamily buildings, manufactured homes or manufactured housing parks; keeping homeowners in place by leveraging solar; and creating additional benefits such as job training opportunities or community disaster preparedness.

Energy Trust is administering and funding these grants as part of its work with Oregon Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Energy to develop solar program models and demonstration projects that benefit low- and moderate-income communities. As part of a three-year federal grant aiming to make the deployment of solar more accessible in Oregon, Energy Trust solicited input from communities and organizations around the state that serve lower and moderate-income Oregonians. One outcome of that collaboration was the identification of short-term funding to support resource-constrained nonprofits and community organizations in being able to dedicate their time and expertise.

SOURCE: Energy Trust of Oregon

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