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Ohio to spend $156M on low-income solar projects

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(The Center Square) – Ohio plans to spend $156 million in taxpayer funds to encourage solar power in what the state calls disadvantaged areas.

The Ohio Air Quality Development Authority and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency are offering both grants and low-cost financing for residential and community solar projects to lower electricity bills in low- to moderate-income households.

The money comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s federal Solar for All program, which awarded the funds through a competitive process.

“We look forward to dispersing these funds in ways that will dramatically impact the lives of people in low-income and disadvantaged communities,” authority Executive Director Christina O’Keeffe said. “These funds are designed to alleviate some of the financial burdens of our Ohio families while spurring economic growth and creating healthier air for all Ohioans.”

The program wants to focus on maximizing the number of underserved households with solar energy generation, which officials say can lead to cost savings for families.

Officials also said they believe the program will create jobs by developing the workforce needed to install the systems across the state.

“We are thrilled to support projects that will have direct and immediate impacts on the state’s economy, environment and public health. These funds are closing the gap in access to solar energy,” Ohio EPA Director Anne Vogel said.

The Ohio Air Quality Development Authority is a nonregulatory, independent state agency that supports projects that improve air quality and help projects meet compliance standards.

Ohio is among 60 states, territories, Tribal governments, municipalities and nonprofits across the country receiving $7 billion from the U.S. EPA under its Solar for All initiative to deliver residential solar projects to more than 900,000 households nationwide.

The initiative was funded by the $891 billion Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which created EPA’s $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.

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