• "Virginia will benefit from its first-ever Solar Powered Community Resiliency Hub. The Hub, which will be located in an historic district in the city of Petersburg, would not be possible without the technical assistance provided by the Clean Energy Group."

    Queen Zakia Shabazz, Executive Director of United Parents Against Lead and Coordinator of the Virginia Environmental Justice Collaborative

Resilient Power Project Technical Assistance Fund

Through the Resilient Power Project, Clean Energy Group (CEG) has established two funding opportunities to advance and accelerate the equitable deployment of resilient solar+storage: the Technical Assistance Fund and the Resilient Power Leadership Initiative. The Technical Assistance Fund, which provides support for resilient power feasibility studies at essential community facilities, is the primary funding program. To learn more about the Resilient Power Leadership Initiative, which provides limited funding to community organizations looking to expand internal capacity related to solar, battery storage, and energy resilience, please see here.

Technical Assistance Fund

The Technical Assistance Fund (TAF) supports the development of reliable, clean energy projects that that strengthen communities by improving energy resilience and reducing energy burdens. The key purpose of the TAF is to fund preliminary technical and financial feasibility analyses of potential energy resilience projects powered primarily by solar photovoltaics combined with battery storage (solar+storage).

Funding Available

The TAF awards grants typically range from $5,000 for a single facility to $15,000 for multiple facilities to cover the cost of engaging a trusted technical services provider to perform a preliminary technical and financial feasibility analyses to determine the sizing, cost, and benefits of solar, battery storage, and other resilient technologies to meet the economic and resilience goals of eligible facilities. The TAF is a year-round program that accepts applications on a rolling basis.

Eligible Facilities

The TAF supports resilient power projects that provide access to essential services for low-income populations and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. TAF eligible facilities include affordable housing and critical community facilities, such as health clinics, community centers, fire stations, emergency operations centers, county facilities, nonprofit community services providers, and cooling centers.

Impact

CEG has awarded more than $1 million in TAF grants to nearly 100 affordable housing and nonprofit community organizations, representing resilient solar+storage projects across 22 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. To date, the grant awards have resulted in the completion of 31 resilient solar+storage projects in low-income and BIPOC communities, with more projects developing each year.

Learn More About the Technical Assistance Fund

Geographic Focus:

  • Funded projects may be located anywhere in the country, including Washington D.C. and U.S. territories
  • Projects must directly serve low-income populations and/or BIPOC communities. CEG is committed to awarding 50% of TAF support to advance the work of BIPOC-led organizations
  • Projects will be selected based on their importance in providing critical services to low-income populations, BIPOC communities, and other marginalized groups such as those located at assisted living, supportive housing, and emergency shelters
  • There may also be limited situations that warrant exceptions to these guidelines

Project Focus:

  • Supported projects typically include solar and battery storage, though these may be paired with other clean resilient power technologies such as fuel cells, combined heat and power (CHP), and energy efficiency measures
  • Projects involve clean, onsite generation that can support critical loads independent of the utility grid by islanding during a power outage
  • Projects not serving as sources of reliable backup power may be considered if they deliver clear economic benefits to low-income residents or to community facilities providing an essential public service

TAF Awards Can Cover:

  • Third-party technical services needed to determine the technical and financial feasibility of a specific resilient power project (i.e., feasibility studies and technical advice)
  • Pre-development costs associated with resilient power projects, where appropriate

Grant Amount:

  • A typical grant from the TAF is in the $5,000 to $15,000 range depending on the number of facilities involved and complexity of the project

Application Process and Timeline:

  • Parties interested in requesting a TAF award should fill out this form, which requires some of the following information:
  • Name of the property, development, or project
  • Name(s) of primary contact, organization, email, and telephone
  • Size and type of community benefiting from the potential project
  • Name(s) of property owner and occupant/host
  • Name(s) of solar developer and energy storage developer (if known at this time).
  • Preliminary description of potential critical loads to be covered by implementing the project (if applicable).
  • Estimated size of the distributed generation and energy storage systems.
  • Description of key people who will manage the project.
  • Any available additional information that would help CEG understand the project.
  • Once an application is submitted, CEG staff will review the application and contact the applicant with any additional questions
  • In all cases, the decisions to approve project proposals for the TAF and determine the terms of the grant agreements will be made exclusively by CEG staff, with approval of CEG’s CFO

TAF Agreement Terms:

  • CEG will establish terms of the grant agreement with recipients on issues concerning the scope of funded work and the use of and reporting requirements for the funds expended under the grant

When is the best time to apply for a TAF award?

  • The TAF accepts applications on a rolling basis, so there is no deadline on when to apply.

Do I have to find my own third-party solar+storage technical services provider?

  • The TAF can be used to fund a technical feasibility assessment from any trusted technical services providers. If you are unsure or do not know who to work with, CEG has long-term partnerships and can refer you to a provider.

How far along in the project development process do I need to be before applying?

  • The TAF covers pre-development feasibility analysis, which will help with decisions to be made regarding what types of resilient power systems to install on a particular site. We recommend you apply prior to having made those decisions. Both new construction and existing facilities are eligible.

Can I request multiple TAF awards?

  • There is not a limit to the number of applications you can submit. However, CEG rarely funds two separate projects from the same organization at the same time. If you are having difficulty deciding where to pursue resilient power among multiple properties, we are happy to provide a preliminary analysis to assist in project prioritization.

Can TAF awards cover the purchase of resilient power systems?

  • Unfortunately, at this time we cannot provide grants to cover the purchase of resilient power systems.

There are thousands of resilient solar+storage projects now deployed or in development across the U.S.
More communities are becoming aware of the benefits that resilient power can offer. Unfortunately, many owners and developers of affordable housing and community-serving facilities do not have the in-house experience and capacity to develop clean, resilient power projects, or the economic resources to engage third-party technical expertise. There are technical, financial, and operational details that are new to most organizations interested in developing a resilient power project.

The TAF is designed to address these information gaps by providing organizations with third-party technical services to assess the feasibility of a solar+storage system at a specific facility or facilities. These assessments result in a report overviewing system sizing and cost, as well as any economic and resilience benefits. Property owners learn how solar+storage can generate revenue, provide backup power in the event of an outage (including what loads can be supported and for how long), and the details necessary when planning for a system (such as where the battery would be located and how much space is required). This information can then be used to begin engaging potential project developers, issue a request for proposals (RFP), or inform fundraising efforts.

When the electric grid goes down, it is imperative that critical community facilities and services providers continue to be supplied with reliable electrical power so they can keep providing essential services in the event of a power outage. Traditionally, facilities that require backup power have relied on diesel generators. But diesel generators are notoriously unreliable, and their duration of service is limited by the amount of fuel that can be stored on-site or trucked in during a disaster.

An alternative to traditional generator backup power is resilient power – solar photovoltaics paired with battery storage (solar+storage). Battery storage, which can bank electricity during normal grid operations to be used in the event of an outage, can island – or isolate — from the grid to provide automatic and reliable backup power. When battery storage is paired with solar, the system can continue to power loads as long as the sun is available to power loads and recharge the system.

Not only can resilient power improve electricity reliability as a source of critical backup power, it can also boost the economic resilience of communities by reducing utility bills and generating revenue through grid services.

To learn more about solar+storage technologies, benefits, and costs, see CEG’s report, Understanding Solar+Storage

Throughout the TAF process, CEG provides one-on-one support, including explaining what resilient power is, how it can benefit a facility, its challenges and limitations, and overviewing the solar+storage development process. CEG is also available to answer any questions that arise and can provide educational opportunities for recipient staff and community members. CEG also communicates regularly with the third-party technical services provider to ensure that the process is as smooth as possible and all questions are answered in a timely manner.

Throughout the TAF process and after project completion, CEG works to highlight and disseminate community partners’ resilient power journey. This includes developing educational materials such as case studies, one-pagers and webinars. These materials can be used by organizations to inform their membership and leadership on the benefits of resilient power.

For example, CEG hosted a webinar in March 2021 featuring TAF awardee Solar Responders and their work developing solar+storage for fire stations in Puerto Rico – slides and a recording are available here.

Support CEG’s Technical Assistance Fund – Donate Today

“Jubilee Housing expresses its gratitude to Clean Energy Group for their grant, which not only allowed the organizations to create a first of its kind Resiliency Center at the Maycroft Apartments, but most importantly is channeling the benefits of solar+storage to low-income housing residents – who most severely feel the impact of energy outages.”

“Developing such resiliency solutions is at the forefront of the nation’s affordable housing and renewable energy dialogues, and should be a model for others. Clean Energy Group was a key partner in developing and implementing this important proof-of-concept project.”

“With our Technical Assistance Fund grant, our small grassroots non-profit was able to hire a local consultant to work with us on finding a low-budget solar+storage system for our small food hub in a rural community highly impacted by Hurricane María. “

“Clean Energy Group helped complete feasibility studies for two solar-plus-battery storage projects and continues to be a key partner as we move towards implementation. These projects will bring resilient power solutions to critical facilities in the Providence communities that need them most and we are grateful to have CEG’s support and expertise.”

“In serving our local tribal community, it is critical that we implement strategies that provide environmental and cultural resource protection and emergency response during wildfires and power outages. The grant facilitated support from local government officials and partnership organizations for the museum to become a designated resilience hub and generated capital funding from multiple federal and private sources.”

“From our first meeting, the CEG team has been supportive and provided guidance and resources to see us through the completion of a feasibility study to where we are now, on the brink of the actual solar PV installation. In addition, CEG has given us the opportunity to learn from and share our experience with others embarking on the solar+storage journey. We are fortunate to be in partnership with Clean Energy Group.”

  • Boulder Housing Partners

    The largest affordable housing provider in Boulder, CO installed a solar+storage system in their headquarters to ensure they could continue to coordinate services for residents during an outage. (Photo: Clean Energy Group)

  • Rancho Verde Apartments

    The Housing Authority of the City of San Buenaventura invested in resilient power upgrades for an affordable housing development catering to farmworker households to provide emergency backup power during an outage. (Photo: Spectrum Energy)

  • Hartley Nature Center

    Spurred by historic flooding, the City of Duluth, MN installed solar+storage to provide emergency backup power during severe weather events at a city-owned nature and community learning center. (Photo: Ecolibrium3)

  • Cimmaron Forestry Office

    The Energy Conservation and Management Division (ECMD) of New Mexico ensured one of its remote District Forestry Offices would be able to communicate with emergency services during a wildfire event by installing solar+storage. (Photo: M. Gaiser, NM State Energy Office 2019)

  • Via Mobility Services

    A leading nonprofit mobility services provider and emergency second responder in Boulder, CO invested in resilient power upgrades to power critical transportation services for vulnerable populations during an outage. (Photo: Via Mobility Services)

  • Vieques Emergency Management

    The island of Vieques, PR had its grid infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017. The Vieques Oficina Municipal para el Mangejo de Emergencias (OMME) office in now prepared for frequent outages thanks to a solar+storage powered emergency management trailer. (Photo: Footprint Project)

Read full profiles of all of these projects on the Featured Resilient Power Installations page.

Banner photo courtesy Resonant Energy 

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