DOE Funding for Deploying Clean Energy in Rural Communities

DOE Funding for Deploying Clean Energy in Rural Communities
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has allocated $170 million to encourage the equitable and community-based deployment of clean energy. This grant will probably support initiatives that place a high priority on involving rural communities in the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies.

By soliciting public input, the DOE wanted to ensure that the switch to sustainable energy is equitable and advantageous for all tribal nations. All “Indian Tribes,” which include Alaska Native Regional Corporations and Village Corporations, Tribal Energy Development Organizations, and Intertribal Organizations, will benefit from these inputs to create a more sustainable and clean energy future. Additionally, it will have an extensive favorable effect, such as lowering the nation’s carbon footprint, enhancing public health, and giving tribal communities new employment opportunities.

Now, let us examine the opportunities the DOE has provided for the general public to guarantee that equality and justice are considered while developing new initiatives.

New Funding Opportunities to Promote the Extensive Use of Equitable Clean Energy

Along with the historic investments made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, this funding will support the Biden-Harris Administration’s initiatives to promote tribal energy sovereignty and ensure tribal participation in the nation’s historic shift to a future powered by inclusive and equitable renewable energy sources.
1. Funding for installing clean energy and electrifying tribal buildings and lands.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) offered $35 million in new funding opportunities for the deployment of clean energy technology on tribal lands and the provision of electricity to tribal facilities without electricity. And out of this $35 million,
  • Indian tribes are allocated $20 million to build clean energy infrastructure on their tribal lands.
And, under the terms of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), the DOE Office of Indian Energy is inviting applications from Indian tribes to:
  1. Equip tribal buildings with energy-saving devices and clean energy production systems. (Potential Interest 1)
  2. Establish community-scale renewable energy production or energy storage facilities on tribal lands. (Potential Interest 2)
  3. Establish an integrated energy system (or systems) that can run independently (as opposed to the traditional centralized electric power grid) to power one or more important tribal facilities in emergencies or to improve the resilience of the tribal communities. (Potential Interest 3).
  4. $15 million will be allocated to equip tribal buildings without electricity with integrated energy systems or other infrastructure. (Potential Interest 4).
Including ESG factors like climate change as risks in Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) systems and procedures would help organizations become more resilient and guarantee that these crucial problems are properly handled.
2. Solar Fellowship for Communities with Low-Income
The Low-Income Community Solar and Energy Assistance Fellowship, created by the DOE, enables energy professionals to work with regional and national organizations. This fellowship allows low-income people to access community solar subscriptions that offer verified savings and consumer protections.
Additionally, fellows will work with host organizations in one of the three pilot areas (the District of Columbia, New Mexico, and Illinois) to develop and test the Community Solar Subscription Tool developed by DOE and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This tool will provide community solar subscriptions to houses participating in government-run low-income assistance programs like the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
3. Accessible and Equitable electrification solutions
The American-Made Equitable and Affordable Solutions to Electrification (EAS-E) Prize was launched by the Building Technologies Office (BTO). It will give inventors $2.4 million in cash prizes and vouchers for technical assistance, making the electrification process easier for implementers and contractors. 

The EAS-E Prize is divided into two stages.  

During Phase 1, teams must submit a concept paper detailing how their strategy will deal with accessible electricity. During Phase 2, teams must evaluate the market and commercial viability of the suggested solution and exhibit functional prototypes.  

DOE’s new funding opportunities
4. Expanding Community Solar Investments
The $10 million American-Made Community Power Accelerator Prize encourages new, young, and emerging solar developers and co-developers to learn more about, become involved in, and build their businesses to support numerous successful community solar projects.
Funding and services like coaching, free consultations, and training on expanding the niche markets for solar developers are available to developers and co-developers. 
5. Equitable Building Upgrades
The Buildings Upgrade (Buildings UP) Prize, established by the Building Technologies Office, will give more than $22 million in monetary prizes and technical support to multi-stakeholder teams across America with ideas for promoting equitable building restorations.
Converting older buildings to clean and energy-efficient designs will help fight climate change. A few possible solutions include using energy-efficient electrical appliances and gadgets, such as heat pumps and heat pump water heaters, and initiatives to improve building efficiency, including insulation and air sealing. These programs will work together to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions while raising occupant comfort and indoor air quality.
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6. Award for Empowering Rural Communities (Pre-Registration phase)

To entice individuals and organizations to help rural or remote places upgrade their energy systems, the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) announced the $15 million Energizing Rural Communities Prize. This grant is a part of the $1 billion ERA (Energy Improvements in Remote or Rural Areas) Program.

There are also two project tracks for this prize. 

The $10 million Partner track will encourage initiatives to connect remote or rural communities to government funding, technical assistance, or a network of partners that may help put clean energy demonstration projects into action. 

The $5 million Finance track will support initiatives to raise money or develop community ownership models to help fund renewable energy demonstration projects in rural or remote locations. 
Business owners, academic personnel, student organizations, community organizations, tribal and municipal governments, industry professionals, and financial institutions are a few of the individuals and groups that can participate in the competition.

New Funding Opportunities for School

The DOE has announced new energy financing possibilities for schools worth about $85 million. However, this $85 million is split into two groups:
  • Energy Champions Leading the Advancement of Sustainable School (CLASS) The $4.5 million Energy CLASS Prize supports regional educational institutions by hiring and preparing energy managers to identify, plan, and implement school efficiency and health improvements. Awards are provided to assist in building employee capacity and institutional expertise.
  • Revive American schools! Upgrades to Energy Efficiency in Public K–12 Facilities A total of $80 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act will be used to improve energy efficiency, especially in underprivileged school districts. Prizes range from $500,000 to $15,000,000 for each winner. Focus areas include high-impact energy efficiency, cutting-edge energy technology packages, and health improvements.

Boost Your Voices!

In addition to receiving additional funding from DOE, communities have numerous opportunities to voice their ideas and influence the creation of future projects by responding to the Requests for Information (RFIs) listed below:

Support the communities where the transmission lines are located.

The Grid Deployment Office is looking for input from the public to help DOE execute a new $760 million Inflation Reduction Act provision, Grants to Facilitate the Siting of Electricity Transmission Lines.

According to this RFI, the program design and economic development strategies for impacted areas should consider equity, energy, and environmental justice concerns.

Procedures for Home Energy Rebate Programs.

The Office of State and Community Energy Programs is seeking public input on benchmarks for $8.8 billion in new House Energy Rebate programs funded by the Inflation Reduction Act to promote an equitable market for home energy efficiency improvements.

Creating Ecosystems for Place-Based Innovation.

The Offices of Science and Technology Transitions seek feedback on projects for place-based innovation that best use the Department’s National Laboratories and Sites to create local innovation ecosystems.


Overall, this investment represents a significant step towards ensuring that tribal countries are at the forefront of the clean energy revolution and have the tools and assistance they require to create a more sustainable and responsible future.
Deploying clean energy and electrifying tribal lands and buildings is crucial for fostering the growth of renewable energy sources and ensuring tribal populations have access to the tools and support they need to prosper.
And for the successful implementation of these clean energy technologies, utilize LOCOMeX’s key features including AI-Powered DivedIn, AI-Powered DivedIn Tier 2, ESG and Net-Zero Tracking, Analysis & Reporting Tool. Reach out to our experts today and explore further services.
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