The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a $7bn grant competition to help low-income households gain access to solar power.

The Solar for All competition has been created by the Inflation Reduction Act’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, facilitated through President Biden’s Investing in America programme.

It will help low-income and disadvantaged communities by awarding up to 60 grants to states, territories, tribal governments, municipalities and non-profit organisations to create and expand low-income solar programmes.

The grants will offer financing and technical support including workforce development for residential solar installation.

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The deadline to apply for the competitive grant is 26 September 2023.

Applicants can apply for small-sized awards between $25m and $100m, medium-sized awards between $100m and $250m and large-sized awards between $250m and $400m.

The programme plans to expand existing solar programmes and develop and implement new Solar for All initiatives such as residential rooftop and community solar power, right across the country.

Financial support and incentives will be offered to communities previously excluded from investments.

The programme also seeks to provide other benefits of distributed solar, including household savings, community ownership, energy resilience, pollution reduction, enhanced air quality and new jobs in the clean energy space.

EPA regional administrator Lisa F Garcia stated: “This is a game-changing moment for environmental justice and solar energy in America. EPA is unleashing a massive wave of solar investments that will give millions of low-income households access to clean and resilient energy, save money on their bills and create jobs in their communities, providing everyone a fair share of the clean energy economy.”

The programme will advance President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which commits to channelling 40% of some federal investments’ total benefits towards marginalised and underserved communities.

It is also projected to help the US reach its 2035 carbon-free power sector target and its aim of net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.