How will low-income families benefit from shared solar energy assistance?

A Minnesota nonprofit believes that low-income households deserve access to clean, reliable renewable power.

RREAL has been working for over 15 years to improve access to solar power for all Minnesota communities– including those that are low-income. Their initiative, Community Solar for Community Action, would open up free solar to households that can most use the budget-saving technology.

Households across American benefit greatly from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, but the assistance they receive is applied toward whatever energy sources are at hand– in other words, low-income families who receive assistance don’t have the option to support renewable energy.

Frankly, energy assistance is yet another fossil fuel subsidy,” explained RREAL’s Jason Edens.

Here’s how the plan works: A community action organization develops and owns a solar garden, and some of the energy produced will be designated for low-income households that are eligible for federal energy assistance. Rather than assistance funds going straight to fossil fuel-dominated power, utility credits flow from the shared solar installation.

Why it matters: Fossil fuels aren’t just bad for our environment, their fluctuating (yet consistently rising) costs greatly affect our society’s most vulnerable families. Even a small increase in energy costs can throw a family’s budget off, which is why the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is always in high demand. Low-income households care about our environment and energy sustainability, too. They not only want to contain rising costs of fossil fuels, they also want to support green energy.

We at Community Renewable Energy hope that this plan takes hold in Minnesota– and the rest of the nation!

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