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HUD Issues Updates on Solar Programs

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has published updated guidance for Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and owners of properties participating in HUD Multifamily Assisted Housing programs regarding the treatment of financial benefits received from participation in community solar energy programs or the presence of on-site solar facilities.

HUD updated this guidance to make it easier for program participants to understand and implement policies governing participation in solar programs so that residents can benefit from the expansion of these clean energy programs as a result of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda through the Inflation Reduction Act. The new guidance consolidates multiple previously issued policy documents, along with current guidance for HUD programs supporting solar, including:

The Inflation Reduction Act provided HUD with $837.5 million in grant and loan subsidy funding and $4 billion in loan commitment authority for this new program. The law also includes $42.5 million for a new HUD initiative launching in the future to collect and assess energy and water usage data from HUD-assisted multifamily housing properties to better target opportunities to save energy and water, cut costs, and reduce emissions.

“At a time when people are struggling to make ends meet, all while dealing with the existential threat of climate change, President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is making solar programs a reality for low-income and working families that need it most,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “This updated guidance is reinforcing that all communities deserve to participate in America’s growing clean energy economy. Under this guidance, HUD will help more communities build a healthier and cleaner future for all.”

HUD’s updated guidance covers programs through which residents benefit from electricity generated by solar panels at either an off-site array or on-site solar facility. The new documents issued contain policies administered by HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing and Office of Multifamily Housing Programs that remain largely unchanged from previously issued policy, with updates for clarity and consistency. The updated guidance also includes some expansions, such as:

  • Guidance for Public Housing Authorities in using community solar credits for buildings with master metered utility accounts.
  • Explicitly stating for properties participating in HUD Multifamily Assisted Housing programs that the guidance applies to properties with rooftop/on-site solar facilities.

The publications reinforce HUD and the Biden Administration’s commitment to improving the quality and resilience of HUD-assisted housing, combating the climate crisis, and supporting equitable economic development and environmental justice. Among its many actions, HUD recently:

  • Updated Public Housing guidance on power purchase agreements for use with its Rate Reduction Incentive program.
  • Published Public Housing guidance for solar credits.
  • On May 11, 2023, HUD announced the availability of new funding through the Green and Resilient Retrofit Program (GRRP) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the energy and water efficiency and climate resilience of HUD-assisted multifamily properties serving low-income residents.

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.

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