The dollars will be used to fund new solar energy systems for low- to moderate-income households in the state, according to the guv’s office. The state funding announced yesterday is part of a $7 billion round of awards impacting more than 900,000 U.S. households.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. underwent the competitive grant process to land the funding, the release shows. WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes says the grant “represents a huge step forward” in the state’s efforts to create a renewable energy system that works for everyone.

WEDC says the state’s Solar for All program will serve “as many low-income Wisconsin residents as possible.” About 29% of the state’s households are considered low-income, according to the release.

The EPA expects awards to be finalized this summer, and WEDC says it plans to start funding projects later this year or in early 2025.

Evers yesterday said the investments funded through the grant program will help the state keep working toward 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050, create jobs, reduce reliance on out-of-state energy sources and lower energy costs.

“This will help support the important benefits of renewable solar energy for low- and moderate-income households across our state through rooftop residential, multifamily, and community solar projects,” Evers said in a statement.

While low-income households can save money on energy through access to solar power, the cost of installing a new solar system can be prohibitive. The average cost for a 5 kilowatt rooftop array is between $14,000 and $19,000, not counting federal tax credits or local incentives, the guv’s office notes.

The Wisconsin Solar for All effort will use private capital to “maximize” the impact of the federal funding and develop a financial assistance program that will last longer than the initial five-year program timeline, according to the release.

The Clean Economy Coalition of Wisconsin is applauding the grant award, noting the Solar for All program will boost access to renewable energy for about 15,000 homes in the state.

“This funding will help advance environmental justice efforts by enabling low-income households to access clean, resilient solar power, lowering energy costs and creating good jobs in underserved areas,” the group said in a statement. “The Solar for All program is a down payment on Wisconsin’s clean economy future, where every community can participate and benefit.”

See Evers’ release.