(BLOOMINGTON) – Indiana Solar for All (ISFA) is again partnering with the City of Bloomington to increase lower-income residents’ access to renewable energy.
An initiative of the nonprofit Center for Sustainable Living, ISFA worked with the City’s Solarize Bloomington campaign to make grants to eight area homeowners with fixed or limited incomes to install rooftop solar systems in 2018, and projects to fund 12 installations in 2019. Homeowners may submit applications through January 31, 2019, at the following site: https://insfa.org/participate.
Homeowners selected for participation defray the cost of installing their solar system through sweat equity, by helping with several installations besides their own and by helping to grow and maintain the program. In addition to income qualification, ISFA selection criteria include relevant skills in construction, project management, fundraising, and communications. Priority will be given to households that have already taken steps to improve energy conservation and efficiency. Volunteers who satisfy the work commitments but do not meet the income guidelines can purchase equipment from ISFA’s supplier and save money on installation costs.
ISFA was founded to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and to make access to it more equitable. Initial funding came from the Solarize Bloomington campaign, an initiative jointly sponsored by the City of Bloomington and the Solar Indiana Renewable Energy Network. Solarize is a group-buy arrangement that reduces prices for all participants through negotiated volume purchases. It also reduces marketing costs for install partners, who pass on part of their savings as a contribution to Indiana Solar for All.
“As they have for decades, the latest reports on climate change confirm the need for our continued efforts to limit the generation of greenhouse gasses,” said Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton. “The City is committed to reducing our collective impact on global temperature rise, and commends ISFA for leading the charge to help more households participate in this effort.”
More than 180 homeowners have installed over 1.2 megawatts of solar capacity via the City’s Solarize Program, equivalent to the energy used by 120 average homes. Solarize Bloomington is continuing this year with open registration at tinyurl.com/SolarizeBloomington2.
“The price of solar installations has dropped dramatically in recent years, yet people with fixed or limited income still cannot afford to buy in, and typically do not qualify for the federal renewable energy tax credit,” said Stephanie Kimball, ISFA Director. “These people are the most vulnerable to electric rate increases because utility bills are a significant part of their expenses. Yet with assistance from Indiana Solar for All, they are enabled to contribute to the community by installing their own systems.”