By Tiffany Hartung, IPL Field Director, and Sarah Paulos, IPL Programs Director
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that was signed into law last August was the most sweeping clean energy and climate legislation in history.
The climate care provisions in the IRA are historic and are imperative in addressing the urgent moral issue of climate justice. The new law puts the nation on the path to cut greenhouse gas emissions up to 44% by 2030, while saving thousands of lives, creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs, investing in environmental justice, and reducing energy bills for working families across the country.
Included in the IRA, are clean energy tax credits for wind and solar, EVs, efficiency upgrades, heat pumps, and much more.
With the passage of the IRA, non-profits and houses of worship now have easier access to clean energy funds and tax credits through a program called “direct pay.” Before the IRA, only homeowners and commercial entities with some tax liability could claim tax credits when installing solar panels, wind turbines, or other eligible technologies on an eligible property. Now, the “direct pay” option means non-taxable entities can also benefit from these credits.
The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) passed in 2021 also provided some investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase resilience to climate impacts.
Across the country, people of faith are making changes to their places of worship to reduce the climate impact of their facilities.
Houses of Worship can leverage these new or expanded federal programs for energy and resiliency improvements.
IPL has created this faith community resource spreadsheet to help houses of worship identify federal grant and tax credit opportunities that are available.
Federal agencies are still in the process of developing the guidance and programs for the Inflation Reduction Act. This IPL resource document will be updated as new program guidance becomes available. If there’s anything you see missing please let us know.
It’s expected that by February 2023 more of the federal program details will be available. Until then, there are a few things you can do to help prepare. You can benchmark your buildings – line up 12 months of utility bills, find out the construction date of your building, track occupancy rates, and use IPL’s Cool Congregations Calculator to learn more about your congregation’s carbon footprint. You can also learn what other sources of funding you can leverage to go along with the federal funding – state, local, and utility. Research your own denomination’s sources for funding for building improvements, for instance, the United Church of Christ Cornerstone Fund serves all congregations even if they are not UCC.
IPL is planning a series of briefings for houses of worship to help share more details about these resources that will help congregations live out their faith values by reducing their footprint in their facilities.
As people of faith and conscience, this is our opportunity to help bring about a just transition to a clean energy economy based on the values we all share: caring for one another and for our common home.
So plan ahead to take advantage of “direct pay” and be part of creating thriving, healthy, and sustainable communities.