New Partnership Seeks To Increase Solar Access In Chicago’s South Side

By Betsy Lillian | Solar Industry

Blacks in Green (BIG), an environmental economic development organization designed to tackle pollution and poverty, has announced a new partnership with Sunrun.

The partners aim to increase opportunities for South Side Chicago homeowners to access solar energy, as well as increase clean energy career opportunities for residents in traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities.

“Communities of color contribute the least yet suffer first and worst from the harms of global warming,” says Naomi Davis, president and founder of BIG. “Our partnership with Sunrun is key to our ‘Sustainable South Side’ commitment – forging a path to 100 percent employment for our neighbors via the new green economy by 2025. This is essential to helping close Chicago’s racial health and wealth gap.”

The partnership includes a commitment from Sunrun to recruit solar trainees from the BIG network and learn more about opportunities with the company in the sales and installation of solar. Sunrun will also support BIG at educational events throughout the community so that residents can learn about rooftop solar, including Illinois’ “Solar for All” low-income solar program, designed by policymakers to increase access to solar energy for underserved communities.

“Sunrun strives to provide homeowners at all income levels with greater access to clean home solar energy and help them take better control of their electricity bills,” comments Amy Heart, director of public policy at Sunrun. “We are focused on creating a more diverse and inclusive solar workforce and community. Our partnership with Blacks in Green, along with forward-looking state policy, will be critical in helping us expand this effort and bring more clean, affordable energy to the communities that need it most.”

“As Illinois continues to build up its clean energy economy, we must make sure that no communities are left behind,” says State Sen. Mattie Hunter, D-Chicago. “I am grateful that Blacks In Green and Sunrun are working together to ensure that neighborhoods like those in the South Side are being included to help create healthier communities with clean energy and access to good jobs.”

BIG and Sunrun will kick off their partnership this Saturday, Aug. 31, at BIG’s grand opening of “The Green Living Room,” which combines coffee, culture and climate solutions in one place.

Read the entire article at Solar Industry.