Solar for All

The Inflation Reduction Act authorized the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund through three grant competitions: the $14 billion National Clean Investment Fund, the $6 billion Clean Communities Investment Accelerator, and the $7 billion Solar for All Competition. The Solar for All Competition aims to increase access to affordable, resilient, and clean solar energy for low-income households. Programs selected for funding under the Solar for All Competition will provide financing and technical assistance to enable low-income and disadvantaged communities to deploy and benefit from residential solar and energy storage and/or residential-serving community solar and energy storage.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Office of Energy Programs (TDEC OEP) worked with the Tennessee Valley Authority, local power companies, local governments, nonprofits, and other organizations to prepare the State's application for the EPA's Solar for All Competition. Though a competitive instead of formula program, EPA has indicated its intent to fund an application in each jurisdiction. The State applied for $250,000,000 -- the maximum amount Tennessee was eligible to apply for. This funding cap was informed by total population within Tennessee census tracts identified as “low-income and disadvantaged communities” by the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST), a publicly available mapping tool developed by the White House Council on Environmental Quality. View the application summary for additional information. 

EPA anticipates making up to 60 awards under this announcement, with up to 56 awards for each state/territory eligible in this competition. EPA reserves the right to modify the award allocation described in the Notice of Funding Opportunity based on the quality of applications received and other program considerations. As described in the Notice of Funding Opportunity Section II.C: Partial Funding, in appropriate circumstances, EPA reserves the right to partially fund applications by funding discrete portions or phases of proposed projects.

If funded, Tennessee’s Solar for All Program will accelerate the deployment of solar infrastructure to benefit low-income households and disadvantaged communities while supporting Tennessee’s varied urban, suburban, and rural communities. The proposed Program’s geography covers the entire state, and the scope of work is to provide financial assistance for residential rooftop and residential-serving community solar infrastructure, storage, and associated enabling upgrades in conjunction with preexisting, complementary programs. This proposed Program will also provide project-deployment technical assistance focused on workforce development opportunities, as well as siting, permitting, and interconnection assistance, as needed.

The Solar for All Program has a period of performance of up to five years, which can include a planning period not to exceed one year. A planning period will provide time to refine Program plans after receiving an award from EPA and before beginning to deploy financial and technical assistance. The State’s application proposes utilizing the planning period to develop Program guidelines and shape technical assistance and workforce development offerings.

A TDEC-led Statewide Program will provide the guidelines needed to ensure the Program's consistent effectiveness and equitable access and will engage a third-party administrator to deploy financial and technical assistance in communities not served directly by a Local Project Implementation Team. Local Project Implementation Teams consisting of local governments, local power companies, nonprofits, community action agencies, and/or other organizations will provide local implementation and support tailored to individual communities' needs. Details pertaining to implementation in specific communities will be finalized during the planning period.

EPA anticipates announcing Solar for All awards in March of 2024 and issuing awards by July of 2024. Award amounts will vary based on geography, the total population within census tracts identified as “low-income and disadvantaged communities” by the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST), and the elements of the proposed program.

Additional information regarding the Solar for All Competition is available on the Solar for All website, the Notice of Funding Opportunity page, the FAQs page, and in the recording of a webinar about the funding opportunity. View the TDEC OEP Solar for All funding opportunity information webinar presentation slides and application summary for additional information. 

Sign up here for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Office of Energy Program’s email list for updates regarding Tennessee’s Solar for All Program.


  • Associated Storage: Infrastructure to store solar-generated power for the purposes of maximizing residential rooftop and residential-serving community solar deployment, delivering demand response needs, aggregating assets into virtual power plants, and delivering residential power during grid outages. Financial assistance for associated storage must be deployed in conjunction with financial assistance for a solar photovoltaic (PV) system and the storage asset must be connected to the solar PV system.
  • Behind-the-meter: A project located on the distribution system. Specifically, “behind-the-meter” refers to assets located after the point of power delivery to the customer and on the “customer side of the meter”. This point of power delivery can be the customer’s billing meter or an unmetered fixture.
  • Distributed Solar: Refers to residential rooftop and residential-serving community solar.
  • Eligible Zero-Emissions Technology: Section 134(a)(1) of the Clean Air Act provides that grants be used to provide financial assistance and technical assistance “to enable low-income and disadvantaged communities to deploy or benefit from zero-emissions technologies.” Section 134(c)(4) of the Clean Air Act provides that the term zero-emissions technology means any technology that produces zero emissions of (a) any air pollutant that is listed in Section 108(a) (or any precursor to such an air pollutant) and (b) any greenhouse gas. EPA is implementing this statutory language by identifying the four technology categories that exclusively qualify for financial and technical assistance from Section 134(a)(1).
  • Enabling Upgrades: Investments in energy and building infrastructure that are necessary to deploy and/or maximize the benefits of a residential rooftop and residential-serving community solar project. Enabling upgrades can include, but are not limited to, electrical system upgrades, structural building repairs and energy efficiency.
  • Residential Rooftop Solar: Behind-the-meter solar photovoltaic (PV) power-producing facilities, including rooftop, pole-mounted, and ground-mounted PV systems, that support individual households in existing and new single-family homes, manufactured homes, and multifamily buildings. The definition of residential rooftop solar includes behind-the-meter solar facilities serving multifamily buildings classified as commercial buildings so long as the solar facility benefits individual households either directly or indirectly, such as through tenant benefit agreements. Residential rooftop solar includes properties that are both rented and owned.
  • Residential-Serving Community Solar: A solar photovoltaic (PV) power-producing facility or solar energy purchasing program from a power-producing facility with up to 5 MW nameplate capacity that delivers at least 50% of the power generated from the system to multiple residential customers within the same utility territory as the facility. There are a variety of community solar ownership models that can be considered, including community-owned solar, third-party-owned community solar, and utility-owned community solar.
     

 

TDEC OEP will host monthly Solar for All stakeholder meetings. Meetings will allow TDEC OEP to share updates on Solar for All planning and any updates from EPA and will occur on the third Friday of each month at 3:00 pm Central.
 
To join the stakeholder meeting, contact Audrey Jackson at Audrey.Jackson@tn.gov
 
Stakeholder meeting presentation slides:
The following organizations provided letters of support for Tennessee's Solar for All application to the EPA:
  • Ameresco
  • Appalachian Voices
  • Be a Helping Hand
  • CDE Lightband
  • City of Chattanooga
  • City of Clarksville
  • City of Knoxville
  • City of Memphis
  • City of Trenton
  • Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation (CEMC)
  • Electric Power Board of Chattanooga (EPB)
  • Goodwill Industries of Middle TN
  • Green|Spaces
  • International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology (ICAST)
  • Knoxville Community Action Committee
  • Knoxville's Community Development Corporation
  • Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB)
  • Memphis Housing Authority
  • Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW)
  • Memphis/Shelby County Planning Department
  • Metro Nashville
  • Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency
  • Middle Tennessee Electric (MTE)
  • Nashville Electric Service (NES)
  • Nature Conservancy
  • Seven States Power Corporation
  • Sierra Club
  • Socially Equal Energy Efficient Development (SEEED)
  • Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE)
  • Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC)
  • Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR)
  • Tennessee Community Action Agencies (TACA)
  • Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development
  • Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association (TECA)
  • Tennessee Higher Education Commission
  • Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA)
  • Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association (TMEPA)
  • Tennessee Solar Energy Industries Association (TenneSEIA)
  • Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

This Page Last Updated: March 18, 2024 at 11:34 AM