Department of Housing and Urban Development Issues Community Solar Guidance

August 5, 2022

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
August 5, 2022

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently issued new guidance that for the first time will help enable families in HUD-assisted rental housing to subscribe to local community solar where available.

In some programs, such as the Washington, DC Solar for All program, savings to households from subscribing to local community solar can reach up to 50% per year, the White House noted in a fact sheet.

The national guidance builds on recent state-specific guidance that HUD has provided to Illinois, Washington, DC and New York, that determined community-net-metering credits would be excluded from household income and utility allowance calculations and therefore not increase housing costs for residents in properties participating in HUD Multifamily, Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance programs, the fact sheet said.

HUD also announced that HUD regional offices will convene stakeholders in their regions over the next 90 days to highlight federal funding sources — including funding streams from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and HUD programs such as the HOME Investment Partnerships program and the Community Development Block Grant — that can be used to support public facilities and increase affordable housing supply that improves energy efficiency.

Building on guidance from last year, HUD will also launch a new initiative to help small rural housing authorities make money-saving energy efficiency upgrades and retain the savings from those projects to reinvest in improvements to rural HUD supported rental housing.

Other Agencies Also Take Action Related To Solar Energy

In addition, the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Washington, D.C. have signed up to pilot the Community Solar Subscription Platform which is designed to connect community solar electric bill savings projects to households participating in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

DOE estimates that families in the pilot states and Washington, DC will see over $1 billion annually in combined electric bill savings.

DOE is announcing the Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar, a new awards program to recognize communities that are implementing best-in class community solar programs and projects that lower costs and increase access for families.