Earlier this year, the Biden Administration announced a $7 billion national “Solar For All” grant competition via the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help expand solar energy production across the country. Harris County leaders enlisted a coalition of cities and counties throughout Texas to submit a joint application, including the cities of Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio and Travis, Dallas, and Tarrant counties.
The application, which Harris County Commissioners voted to submit last month, envisions a $400 million investment to “transform the Texas clean energy landscape for residents and workers” by increasing “solar and storage, [as well as] clean energy jobs.”
The plan would include putting rooftop solar on residential homes; a county owned and operated corporation that aggregates and negotiates the price of energy on behalf of residents; and community hubs that would provide an “island” of energy in the event that the state power grid goes dark. All told the 5-year project would benefit over 11 million people across Texas.
Harris County’s plan would also:
- “Strengthen community resilience to power system failures during natural disasters, [which] can and will save lives.”
- “Deliver distributed solar to over 46,245 low-income and disadvantaged community households.”
- “Provide an average of $17 million in annual household electricity bill savings—a program-wide 26% average reduction from current average statewide bills.”
The grant competition was announced in late June, and the joint application was agreed to at the end of August. The email I got wasn’t clear about the rest – there’s clearly a press release somewhere that I can’t find – but I infer that the grant application will be filed in the near future. (This post was drafted in October, so perhaps by now it already has been.) It all sounded cool enough that I wanted to make note of it, so here you are. I’ll keep an eye on it going forward.