Cleveland-based Growth Opportunity Partners (Growth Opps) has been awarded a significant $156 million grant by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of the Solar for All initiative. This influential grant is set to power a major solar energy project across eight states in the Midwest and Rust Belt regions, focusing on enhancing solar energy access to over thirty-one low- and moderate-income communities.

The initiative is a response to President Biden’s commitment to ensure that “no community is left behind,” in the transition to sustainable energy. EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan emphasized that the project is part of a broader $7 billion investment aimed at benefiting over 900,000 households in disadvantaged communities nationwide. This effort is expected to create hundreds of thousands of jobs, save families approximately $8 billion in energy costs, improve air quality, and contribute significantly to combating climate change.

Growth Opps’ project, spearheaded under the Industrial Heartland Solar Coalition, entails the installation of over 110 megawatts of solar capacity. This substantial increase in solar infrastructure is projected to yield about $19 million in annual energy savings for households and reduce carbon emissions by 160,000 tons each year. Furthermore, the project promises to generate over 1,000 new solar jobs, prioritizing local hiring and high-standard labor practices.

Michael Jeans, CEO of Growth Opps, stated that receiving the EPA grant is a “testament to our unwavering commitment to driving positive change in disadvantaged communities through sustainable energy initiatives.” He noted that the grant enables them to bring long-awaited renewable energy advancements to communities in America’s industrial heartland.

The significance of this project extends beyond environmental impact. It is a model of equitable economic development, aiming to provide sustainable job opportunities and long-term energy savings to communities that have been historically marginalized or affected by industrial decline.

John Mitterholzer, Director of Climate and Environmental Justice at The George Gund Foundation, praised the initiative, recognizing the establishment of Growth Opps’ GO Green Energy Fund as the first African American-led Green Bank in the nation. He highlighted the allocation as a victory for climate justice and equitable energy transitions.

The Industrial Heartland Solar Coalition, which includes municipalities across Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, represents regions heavily impacted by the economic downturns related to the decline of 20th-century manufacturing bases. This project not only represents a shift towards clean energy but also a significant stride towards revitalizing these communities economically and environmentally.

This funding and the subsequent projects will play a crucial role in reshaping the energy landscape of the Midwest and Rust Belt, providing both immediate and long-term benefits to the residents. Growth Opps continues to set a precedent for how green initiatives can be intertwined with economic and community development, ensuring a sustainable future that includes all communities.

For additional details about Growth Opps and their upcoming projects and initiatives, interested parties can visit their website or follow their activities on various social media platforms.