Dane County Spotlights Clean Energy Opportunities Under Inflation Reduction Act
Dane County’s Office of Energy & Climate Change is gearing up to encourage everyone in Dane County to take advantage of new opportunities to go green under the federal Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
The 2022 IRA provides a historic level of funding—estimated at $370 billion—for clean energy and climate action projects. Much of the funding will be available via tax credits which, for the first time, will be available to tax-exempt entities like local governments, schools, and nonprofit organizations via a direct pay feature.
“Dane County staff are already analyzing how we can take advantage of the new incentives for our own projects and we encourage everyone in Dane County—individuals, businesses, nonprofits, local governments and schools—to do the same. The unprecedented funding, combined with all the innovation in our communities, is creating a once-in-a-generation opportunity to accelerate climate action,” said County Executive Joe Parisi.
Under the IRA, businesses and tax-exempt entities can qualify for credits totaling 30% of the cost of solar, geothermal, and battery storage projects. A new Direct Pay feature makes the credits available to non-taxable entities like nonprofits and local governments. The credits are not capped so, for example, an entity could get $300,000 back for a $1,000,000 project. Homeowners can also qualify for 30% off the cost of solar installations as well as other tax credits associated with energy efficiency measures.
The Office of Energy & Climate Change has created new webpages that detail many of the incentives available via the IRA, and staff are speaking with groups around Dane County to inform them about specific opportunities. The Office is also partnering with faith-based groups, employee green teams, and other entities to spread the word about the available funding.
“I created the Office of Energy & Climate Change to accelerate climate action across Dane County. Helping everyone access the funding from the IRA is just one more way we can realize our ambitious countywide climate action goals,” said Parisi.
Dane County has ambitious climate goals both for Dane County operations and on a countywide basis. Specific to Dane County operations, Executive Parisi set a goal that the County’s facilities, fleet, and land operations would be carbon neutral by 2030. An earlier goal, that all of the electricity used in County operations would be 100% renewable, will be met once the 17 MW Yahara Solar Project begins operation this year (which is about two years ahead of the 2025 goal). County staff are now analyzing how the available IRA incentives can support the County’s efforts to cut emissions by 2030.
The 2020 Dane County Climate Action Plan set the goal that countywide emissions be cut in half by 2030, which is consistent with recommendations from the climate science community. The new funding from the IRA can help local governments, school districts, nonprofits, businesses and individuals pursue clean energy projects ranging from solar or geothermal installations to energy efficiency and electrification of buildings to electric vehicles and help Dane County achieve these climate goals.
Entities can learn more about the IRA online at https://daneclimateaction.org/what-you-can-do/federal-funding.