In Short

State Energy Department to offer $12 million in grants for community solar, wind projects

By: - March 8, 2022 1:22 pm

Solar panels sit on a roof in Salem. (Courtesy/City of Salem)

Ideas for community projects to boost renewable energy access could soon have up to $1 million each from the Oregon Department of Energy.

The agency announced they’ll release $12 million in grants for projects such as adding more electric vehicle charging stations in rural parts of the state and adding solar panels to public buildings. Money will also go to energy resiliency projects, like wind and solar energy storage systems that can kick in during an emergency and provide power to homes on a microgrid when the larger power grid is down.

Applications for grants are due June 10, 2022.

The $12 million is the first round of funding from a new Community Renewable Energy Grants Program administered by the state Energy Department. 

The program is open to Oregon tribes, public bodies such as counties, municipalities and irrigation districts, and Oregon’s 38 consumer and publicly-owned utilities.

Applicants can partner with community groups, nonprofits and private businesses on projects, with priority given to those that address environmental justice, energy resiliency and efficiency, according to a press release from the agency.

At least half of the $12 million will go to projects that serve communities of color, low-income or rural communities. 

Grants of up to $100,000 will support planning for the energy projects, and up to $1 million will be awarded for construction. 

The program was established by the 2021 Legislature to fund community-based projects aimed at expanding access to renewable energy and helping local governments and utilities adapt to unanticipated energy disruptions and climate change.  

Additional rounds of funding will be available through the program through the end of 2024.

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Alex Baumhardt
Alex Baumhardt

Alex Baumhardt has been a national radio producer focusing on education for American Public Media since 2017. She has reported from the Arctic to the Antarctic for national and international media, and from Minnesota and Oregon for The Washington Post. She previously worked in Iceland and Qatar and was a Fulbright scholar in Spain where she earned a master's degree in digital media. She's been a kayaking guide in Alaska, farmed on four continents and worked the night shift at several bakeries to support her reporting along the way.

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