• Mon. May 27th, 2024

FEMA will pay states for solar panels and heat pump installation

ByPeter Thiel

Jan 31, 2024

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that it will reimburse local governments for the installation of solar panels and energy-efficient appliances after a disaster. This new initiative is part of FEMA’s Public Assistance program, which reimburses state, tribal, territorial, and local governments for eligible recovery efforts. The program provides funding for net-zero energy projects, including solar, heat pumps, and efficient appliances. FEMA will reimburse 75% of the cost of eligible recovery efforts, including solar panel installation and energy-efficient appliances.

This is the first time that FEMA is funding net-zero energy projects through its Public Assistance program. The move is aimed at helping communities prepare for future disasters by equipping them with tools that can keep the lights on during power outages. It is also a way for the US to deploy technologies that cut greenhouse gas emissions and stave off worsening climate disasters like storms, heatwaves, and wildfires.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said that the increase in extreme weather hazards due to climate change necessitates a change in the way communities rebuild post-disaster. During the 1980s, the US suffered an average of 3.3 disasters per year that each cost over $1 billion in losses. That number has risen to an average of 20.4 disasters each year since 2019 (adjusted for inflation).

The installation of solar panels and energy-efficient appliances can help prevent power outages by forming microgrids that residents can rely on even if there’s a blackout on the broader power grid. Energy-saving appliances, including heat pumps that are more efficient than traditional air conditioners, can also help prevent power outages by taking pressure off the grid when cooling demand peaks during heatwaves.

Funding for the new program comes from the Inflation Reduction Act, the US’s biggest investment yet in climate action and clean energy. This initiative is expected to help communities across the US recover from disasters more quickly and sustainably.