WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to make clean energy upgrades accessible to more Rhode Islanders, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Seth Magaziner and Gabe Amo today announced that the state will receive $49.3 million in federal funding through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Solar for All Program.

The Biden Administration’s $7 billion announcement of clean energy funding comes on Earth Day 2024 and was made possible by the landmark Inflation Reduction Act (P.L. 117-169), which Democrats passed in 2022. The funding secured for Rhode Island Equitable Access to Solar Energy (EASE) programs will support the launch and expansion of a comprehensive suite of seven financial assistance programs and twelve project deployment technical assistance initiatives designed to equitably address financial barriers to solar adoption. These initiatives will facilitate broader, more equitable access to reliable solar power across Rhode Island’s most historically underserved communities.

According to Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER), these funds will help serve thousands of households in the Ocean State, help to unlock millions in household energy cost savings over time, and realize significant reductions in annual carbon dioxide emissions.

“That monthly utility bill can really upset a family’s finances. Today’s announcement is another piece of good news from the Inflation Reduction Act for Rhode Island homeowners and renters.  Plus it’s good news for our environment, and it will significantly cut the upfront cost of rooftop solar on homes and apartments across the state,” said Senator Reed. “I applaud OER and its coalition for their work towards greater access and equitable expansion of clean energy in Rhode Island’s underserved communities. By introducing new programs and expanding existing initiatives, this federal funding will have impacts across the state, putting solar panels on more homes while cutting significant carbon emissions and unlocking energy bill savings for years to come.” 

“Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act continues to power the Ocean State’s clean energy future,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “This significant investment will make clean, reliable solar energy more accessible and affordable for all Rhode Island families.”

“We must do everything we can to lower energy costs for working Rhode Islanders,” said Representative Magaziner. “This grant represents an important step towards lowering household utility bills and delivering cleaner air, while ensuring that no community is left behind as we transition to an affordable clean energy future.”

“Today’s grant announcement by President Biden’s administration to expand solar power in Rhode Island is a win-win for working- and middle-class families,” said Congressman Amo. “This federal funding, made possible by the historic Inflation Reduction Act passed by Congressional Democrats, will reduce monthly utility bills for consumers, shrink our state’s carbon footprint, and put our electric grid on an even more sustainable path. I thank all of our partners and stakeholders for working with us to secure this essential solar funding for Rhode Island. I look forward to the positive benefits that it will unlock in our communities for years to come.”

“We are excited to be receiving federal energy funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to continue supporting disadvantaged communities with these energy investments that will provide long-term benefits to constituents,” said Governor Dan McKee. “These federal energy funds and programs are important for Rhode Island to meet our emissions reduction goals with Act on Climate and growing the state's clean energy economy.”

“The Solar for All program and funding from EPA allows us to implement important programs and projects that will help accelerate solar adoption and provide long-term benefits in Rhode Island communities that have historically faced the negative impacts of climate change.” said Acting State Energy Commissioner Chris Kearns

The Rhode Island EASE programs will boost energy resilience; provide assistance directly to homeowners and renters; and deploy several technical assistance initiatives, including administrative support, workforce development, community engagement, translation services, support for low-income residents during regulatory proceedings, and funding to provide direct technical assistance to communities for community solar ownership options.  

Last year, the Rhode Island delegation sent a letter of support to EPA advocating for Rhode Island EASE to receive federal funding through the EPA’s Solar for All program.

Rhode Island OER served as the lead applicant for the Rhode Island EASE program. The coalition of state agencies and nonprofit organizations also includes Rhode Island Commerce, Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Rhode Island Housing, Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, Rhode Island Department of Health and Human Services, Rhode Island AFL-CIO, and Rhode Island Center for Justice.