EPA Awards $249M to Community Power Coalition, including ROC USA, for solar initiative

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its selection of Inclusive Prosperity Capital, Inc. (IPC) and the Community Power Coalition, of which ROC USA is a proud member, for an award of $249.3 million from Solar for All for their “Powering America Together” program.

ROC USA, as a proud member of the Community Power Coalition “Powering America Together” Program, thanks the Biden Administration and the EPA for selecting the Community Power Coalition for the GGRF Solar for All program.

The “Powering America Together” Program spanning 44 states and territories along with 10 EPA regions will deliver meaningful, high-impact benefits for Americans in low-income and disadvantaged communities through community solar projects that reduce energy burdens and promote quality jobs, community wealth-building, community energy resilience, and equitable workforce development.

The coalition – led by Inclusive Prosperity Capital, Inc. and comprised of ROC USA, the University of New Hampshire Carsey School Center for Impact Finance, Black Owners of Solar Services, Clean Energy Group, Coalition for Community Solar Access, Community Housing Capital, GRID Alternatives, Interstate Renewable Energy Council, and  People’s Solar Energy Fund – shares a commitment to lowering energy costs for families, creating quality jobs, advancing climate justice, and serving the needs of low-income and disadvantaged communities. Community Power Coalition members have worked with the Department of Energy’s Community Power Accelerator and National Community Solar Partnership as developers, lenders, trainers and technical assistance providers, as well as members that bring expertise in workforce development, BIPOC entrepreneurship, affordable housing, and policy.

Through its Powering America Together program, the Community Power Coalition will focus innovation and scaling on:

  • Community-owned models seeking to build wealth for low-income and disadvantaged communities
  • Affordable multifamily housing models benefitting low-income tenants in regions without enabling community solar policy
  • Resident-owned-community solar for solar in cooperatively owned manufactured home communities
  • Models aligned to the requirements of rural regions, generating additional wealth for rural landowners and rural electric cooperative ownership
  • Community solar models that integrate storage and resiliency
  • Models that integrate developers and equitable workforce development

The coalition’s program(s) will offer a variety of low-cost financial assistance, including predevelopment and construction financing, bridge loans for tax credits, permanent financing, and grants to support community solar projects. This includes financing for interconnection costs and upgrades, with a focus on using Solar for All funds to bridge financing gaps and maximize other financing resources. The coalition also aims to expand community solar access for low-income and disadvantaged communities in nascent state markets. 

Kevin Porter, ROC USA’s vice president of loan originations, has led ROC USA’s efforts with the coalition.

“Our partners here are some of the best in the business in terms of getting solar to under-resourced communities,” Porter said. “It’s incredible, and it’s affirming, and we’ll be able to make some great things happen.”

Education and technical assistance on community solar models and supportive regulations will be provided by the Community Power Coalition. Additionally, financing incentives will be offered for projects in states that reduce regulatory barriers, and support will be given to mission-driven, community-based developers testing innovative approaches. The program’s broad technical assistance scope will include connecting developers to local workforce development ecosystems, expanding the Community Power Accelerator training program, providing hands-on assistance for challenges like interconnection and project finance, and offering community engagement and culturally appropriate outreach. The coalition will have a dedicated focus on building the capacity of community solar developers from under-represented backgrounds.

In all, with a strong commitment to community-centered solutions, this groundbreaking initiative not only aims to lower energy costs, create quality jobs, and enhance energy resilience but also to empower low-income and disadvantaged communities to shape their sustainable future. Through collaboration, innovation, and a dedication to climate justice, the program’s enduring legacy will be the cultivation of an ever-growing network of mission-driven developers who advance climate equity through community solar, driving positive transformations in communities disproportionately affected by climate change.

ROC USA is eager to work through the Community Power Coalition to lower energy burdens, create quality jobs, and advance climate justice in low-income and disadvantaged communities through community solar.