Floridians wanting rooftop solar can soon apply for financial help


A group of Florida nonprofits was awarded $156 million by the federal government to help make rooftop solar accessible for lower- and middle-income households. That means there will be a way for Floridians to apply for financial help to install rooftop solar panels on their homes later this year.

How much help a household could qualify for will depend on income, said Duanne Andrade, executive director of the Solar and Energy Loan Fund, one of three nonprofits that received the federal funding to administer the Solar for All program, which was announced this week. Details are still being ironed out to ensure all requirements are met, she said, but an application portal will likely open this fall.

Eligible applicants could get grants or subsidies to help pay for solar panels, or low-cost financing, Andrade said. She estimates that the funding will be enough to help roughly 10,000 households.

“It is 100% focused on helping low- and mid-income communities have access to solar energy, reduce energy burdens, improve quality of life and increase resilience in face of storms,” she said. “This funding is huge.”

Homeowners or landlords who provide lower-income housing interested in learning more about the application process can enter their information on this webpage to receive updates.

The $156 million is part of a slate of climate funding rolled out by the Biden Administration as part of the the Inflation Reduction Act.

The three nonprofits jointly applied for the federal money after learning Florida was one of a minority of state governments not applying, Andrade said. In addition to the Solar and Energy Loan Fund, which finances green projects, the other two groups were Solar United Neighbors, a solar organizing group, and The Nature Conservancy in Florida, an environmental group. A full list of awardees on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website shows 32 state governments received funding.

“We worked hard to make sure we weren’t left behind,” Andrade said.

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Spotlight Tampa Bay

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch and scientists are among those taking The Palladium stage in May to discuss how climate change will affect the Tampa Bay area at the Spotlight Tampa Bay forum. Tickets are $20, or $10 for students with IDs. A limited number of $50 VIP tickets are available. Proceeds will support the Tampa Bay Times Journalism Fund. For more information, click here.



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