Commissioner Lesley Briones Celebrates Award of Transformational $249,700,000 EPA Solar Grant

22 Apr, 24

Harris County, TX — In a watershed moment for Harris County, Commissioner Lesley Briones celebrated the award of the $249,700,000 Solar for All grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Harris County and the Texas Solar for All Coalition (Texas Coalition). 

"The Solar for All grant funding is a generational opportunity for Harris County to take another bold step forward as the global leader of the energy transition. The $249.7 million will give us the ability to aggregate electricity on behalf of residents and change the way we deliver power to their homes,” Commissioner Briones said. “I am grateful to the Biden-Harris Administration for investing in large-scale, transformational change that will bring high-paying union jobs, affordable and reliable electricity, decreased dependence on ERCOT, and resilience in the face of climate change. By expanding access to rooftop and community solar, we will assist families facing high-energy costs and help keep Harris County the epicenter of the energy transition.”

The EPA’s Solar for All grant is a $7 billion program, and a key portion of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, borne out of the Inflation Reduction Act championed by the Biden Administration. This highly-competitive grant program aims to expand the number of low-income and disadvantaged communities with residential solar investment — enabling millions of low-income households to access affordable, reliable, and clean solar energy. 

Commissioner Briones and her Harris County Precinct 4 team championed building the statewide coalition for the grant application and were energized by the broad support for solar power across Texas. Harris County will lead the Texas Coalition, which includes major metropolitan areas such as Travis, Dallas, and Tarrant counties, large cities including Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Waco, and Dallas, as well as nonprofits serving several other Texas partners along the border such as Cameron County, Brownsville, and El Paso.

Funding from this grant will bring relief to Harris County residents and Texans statewide who have lost confidence in the state’s power grid due to recent, catastrophic grid failures. Some residents could see their electricity bills go down by as much as 20% through the expansion of access to rooftop and community solar, with the anticipated annual household savings for certain low-income households averaging $1,700. Statewide, Solar for All will significantly reduce carbon emissions.

“Strengthening our energy infrastructure is critical, especially for our most vulnerable communities. I saw firsthand during the last two winter freezes how dangerous it is when families do not have access to reliable and affordable energy.” Commissioner Briones said. “I am proud that Harris County is leading a coalition of major cities and counties in Solar for All, and I am especially excited that we are joined by partners in my hometown of Laredo, Brownsville, and areas of the Rio Grande Valley. Together, we are fighting for working families, finding solutions for Texans, and working to keep Texas the global energy leader of tomorrow.” 

As the Commissioner for Precinct 4, which is home to the Energy Corridor, Commissioner Briones also praised Solar for All for bringing together leaders in the energy industry along with labor unions to spur further economic growth. The program is designed to support workforce training and apprenticeships at the high school, pathway, and community college levels; support minority- and women-owned businesses; and collaborate with unions and many community-based organizations.

“I am energized by the spirit of innovation behind Solar for All that will help keep Harris County the energy capital of the world,” Commissioner Briones said. “We are driving progress that will power not only the state and the country, but also the entire world for generations to come.”