Governor Lamont, Congressional Delegation Announce Connecticut Selected To Receive $62.5 Million for Solar Projects Benefitting Low-Income Residents

Governor Ned Lamont and the members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation today announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) with a $62.5 million grant under its Solar for All initiative.

This competitive grant program through the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund is aimed at expanding solar energy investment in low-income and disadvantaged communities (LIDAC). The grant competition is funded by President Joe Biden’s Investing in America agenda as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Connecticut’s grant application was led by DEEP in close collaboration with the Connecticut Green Bank, the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, the Connecticut Department of Housing, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, and others, making up the Connecticut Consortium. The consortium’s application is called, “Project SunBridge: Connecting Communities to a Solar Future.”

Project SunBridge will reach thousands of households, with a priority focus on multi-family affordable housing units. The project is designed to overcome current barriers for low-income and disadvantaged communities to access solar and storage energy technologies through a combination of financial and technical assistance.

Governor Lamont said, “This funding means more residents in Connecticut – and importantly, more low-income residents in our state – will be able to realize the benefits of clean, renewable energy and the savings associated with it. This funding provides for more equitable participation in the green economy and helps us make our grid cleaner and more reliable. Thank you to the Biden administration and the EPA for this Inflation Reduction Act funding, to our Congressional delegation for their efforts to pass the underlying legislation, and to DEEP for taking the lead along with fellow application partners to secure this funding for the residents of our state.”

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said, “This $62.5 million in federal funding will uplift communities, grow well-paying jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and expand Connecticut’s solar energy infrastructure.”

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said, “Solar energy is a great way to lower energy costs and reduce pollution, but the upfront price makes it hard for many people to afford the switch. Project SunBridge will help ensure low-income communities aren’t excluded from the benefits of solar energy. This $62.5 million in federal funding will cut energy bills for thousands of families and help Connecticut get closer to our goal of a zero-carbon electric sector by 2040.”

Congressman John B. Larson (CT-01) said, “I worked with my colleagues on the House Ways and Means Committee and the entire Connecticut delegation to pass the largest investment in our nation’s history to combat climate change. This $62.5 million grant, funded by our efforts in Congress, will support the deployment of solar power to more than 12,000 households across the state, including in Hartford and Portland, a huge step toward decarbonizing our electric grid. Whether it be solar, wind, or hydrogen, I will continue to work to ensure our state remains at the forefront of America’s clean energy future.”

Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) said, “The Inflation Reduction Act is the largest investment in climate mitigation and clean energy in our nation’s history. Today, on Earth Day, Connecticut is once again reaping its rewards with $62.5 million coming to help increase access to solar energy technology across low-income communities. This is a strong step towards ensuring the benefits of clean energy is within reach for every resident.”

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) said, “I am proud to have helped secure these funds for the Solar for All initiative, which will lower energy costs and reduce pollution in vulnerable communities across our state. This Earth Day announcement will propel our work to combat climate change forward and expand renewable energy options to families looking to reduce not only their costs, but their ecological footprint as well.”

Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04) said, “Connecticut has long been on the cutting edge of innovation to curb the effects of climate change, and I’m thrilled to see this $62.5 million Solar for All grant for Project SunBridge help residents make the transition to clean energy. As the climate crisis continues to disproportionately affect low-income communities, this federal funding will expand access to solar energy for underserved neighborhoods along our coast – a crucial step toward reducing our carbon footprint.”

Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) said, “Investing in renewable energy is vitally important to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing the climate crisis. I am excited more funding from the Inflation Reduction Act is coming to Connecticut. Through Project SunBridge, DEEP will assist thousands of families access solar energy, with an emphasis on communities with the most need. I look forward to working with Governor Lamont, Commissioner Dykes, and the Connecticut Congressional delegation to continue delivering results for the people of Connecticut.”

DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said, “We are thrilled the EPA’s national competition recognized the effort and vision to expand the benefits of solar energy here in Connecticut. We have a tremendous opportunity to deliver the affordability and resiliency advantages of solar energy to homes and communities that deserve further investment. We look forward to working with our many partners to promote energy independence while delivering lower energy costs.”

PURA Chairman Marissa P. Gillett said, “Expanding community solar in our underserved municipalities will increase ratepayer access to the meaningful benefits of renewable energy sources, including reducing carbon emissions and energy bills, and improving grid resilience. PURA applauds the EPA for providing this essential funding that will build on Connecticut’s ongoing efforts to achieve an equitable modern grid for all ratepayers. PURA thanks DEEP for leading this solicitation and is excited to collaborate with our state partners to ensure these new solar projects are successfully deployed.”

Connecticut Green Bank President and CEO Bryan Garcia said, “Today’s announcement from the EPA recognizes Connecticut’s track record of leading the way on equitable deployment of solar PV and battery storage to share the benefits of the green economy. We look forward to collaborating with members of the Consortium to empower vulnerable communities. This new investment will unlock resources for underinvested families residing in affordable housing to help them realize a reduced energy cost burden.”

Connecticut Housing Finance Authority CEO Nandini Natarajan said, “I am honored for CHFA to be a part of an amazing partnership with our fellow agencies to bring critical federal resources to the state of Connecticut. The EPA’s award celebrates Connecticut’s unwavering dedication to making clean energy accessible to all. The Solar for All program offers an opportunity to reduce energy expenses, invest in the heath and sustainability of Connecticut’s affordable housing inventory, and empower our underserved communities. We are excited to collaborate with our partners to promote energy independence and advance our shared goals of building a more environmentally sustainable and equitable future.”

Through greater access to distributed solar and storage installations, Project SunBridge aims to achieve a minimum household energy savings of 20% for all participants, and will further help Connecticut’s goal of a zero-carbon electric sector by 2040, as established by Public Act 22-5.

These measures will supplement and enhance existing incentive programs in Connecticut such as the Residential Renewable Energy SolutionsEnergy Storage Solutions, and Shared Clean Energy Facilities programs. The Connecticut Consortium, along with the electric distribution utilities, is already in the process of creating resources to streamline the customer eligibility verification process and to explain and promote what programs and incentives are available. The consortium seeks to implement Solar for All funds in a way that reaches every corner of Connecticut. Project SunBridge will conduct stakeholder outreach to identify barriers to distributed solar and storage deployment in LIDAC households and identify the most impactful use of funding.

**On the Web: EPA press release on Solar for All grants
**On the Web: List of EPA’s selected applicants