State offering $35M in grants for solar power Updated 8 hours ago

By Lauren Ellenbecker, Columbian staff writer Published: January 20, 2023, 6:03am Updated: January 20, 2023, 7:08am

More than $35 million in grants is up for grabs for Washington municipalities seeking to give a boost to their solar base. The state Department of Commerce is accepting applications through March 23 for its new Solar plus Storage for Resilient Communities program, which provides grants to install and manage solar and battery storage systems in community buildings. These include schools, libraries and buildings owned by local governments and nonprofits. Two tracks provide funding for certain projects: planning and installation. Planning and predevelopment projects require preliminary work, like identifying sites and conducting public outreach, to pinpoint community needs. These projects can qualify for up to $100,000 each without matching. Installation funding can be directed toward efforts that set up solar and battery storage systems in facilities, which includes equipment purchases, commissioning and subsequent training. Each project can qualify for up to $1.5 million yet require a 30 percent match. The city of Vancouver has followed the program since its initial information session in early December. According to city officials, staff are currently assembling agency and utility partners to create a project concept prior to applying for the grant.

Grant work begins July 1, according to the state agency. Firms can also apply for grants through the Department of Commerce to carry out feasibility studies and outreach for municipalities interested in pursuing solar plus battery storage efforts. For more information, visit www.commerce.wa.gov/growing-the-economy/energy/solar-plus-storage/.

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