The Washington State Department of Commerce announced $35.4 million in grants to local, state, and tribal governments and nonprofits to plan and install solar and battery back-up power systems at community buildings.
The projects are intended to provide clean back-up power for critical community needs during power outages, including supporting emergency services, healthcare, and shelters.
Outside of power outages, the systems will produce electricity that will save energy costs for the facility operators, and the systems may also reduce strain on the grid when usage is high.
“Power outages impact everyone differently – some of our most vulnerable community members face significant risks when the power goes out,” said Commerce Director Mike Fong. “These investments in solar power with battery back-up systems will help people receive the services they need most – whether that’s heating or cooling, medical care, or keeping devices charged so they can communicate and stay informed.”
Some of the Solar Plus Storage grants announced will support planning and development work, such as feasibility studies, to prepare organizations to complete solar and battery storage projects in the future.
A second group of awards will fund installation of solar and battery back-up equipment at community buildings, ranging from schools and senior centers to fire stations and hospitals.
Included in the funding is nearly $4 million within Grays Harbor and Pacific counties.
Planning and Predevelopment Grants
- Willapa Community Development: $48,410— American Legion Veteran Housing and Resource Center Solar Resilience Project Planning and Pre-development Project
- Coastal Community Action Program: $1,500,000— CCAP Solar and Storage Grant Application
- Ocosta School District: $995,820— Ocosta Elementary Tsunami Evacuation Tower Solar and Storage Microgrid Resiliency Project
- YMCA of Grays Harbor: $1,381,000— YMCA of Grays Harbor Solar + Storage
Funding for solar and battery storage projects is an element of Washington’s commitment to a 100% clean electric grid free of carbon emissions by 2045. These investments are said to increase community resilience and create new business opportunities and jobs throughout the state.
According to Commerce Assistance Director Michael Furze, some under-resourced communities have difficulty completing the planning and pre-development needed to even apply for a grant. “We are pleased to be able to help communities get ready to complete solar and battery storage projects in the future.”
The Solar plus Storage for Resilient Communities program provides competitive funding for projects at community buildings, including schools, community centers, libraries, and other buildings owned by local, state, tribal governments and non-profits in Washington. All grant funds are contingent upon execution of final project contracts with Commerce. The selection process prioritized projects that will benefit populations most vulnerable to impacts from power outages and emergencies. These communities include highly-impacted, lower-income, rural, and remote communities.
For more information on funding opportunities for energy projects, visit the Commerce Energy webpage.