A 4-year-old green jobs law is helping four Bloomington-Normal nonprofit organizations get solar power systems for their buildings.
The Ecology Action Center announced that through the Illinois Solar for All program, Habitat for Humanity Restore, Wayman AME Church, the Normal Township Activity and Recreation Center, and Christ Church PCA in Normal will get solar arrays. Local solar installer StraightUp Solar will work with all four organizations on the projects.
Ecology Action Center Assistant Director Larissa Armstrong said the Twin City projects are part of the statewide Future Energy Jobs Act, enacted in 2016, to offer access to low-income and environmental justice communities.
“Those nonprofits can get installations put up on their buildings without having to put forth any upfront capital," said Armstrong. "Or if they do make an upfront investment, it would be a really small portion.”
She said the project will significantly reduce energy costs over the years along with providing environmental benefits to the community.
“The positive environmental impacts are that we're seeing reduced carbon emissions from all of those solar arrays,” Armstrong said. “That's just a little bit less fossil fuels that are being used in our community. The more solar installations we see, the less greenhouse gases our community is emitting. And that's always a bonus not just for the environment, but also for public health because reducing emissions helps keep our air clean.”
Armstrong noted that on-site solar installations are available for single-family homes that meet the income eligibility requirement and for multifamily properties where half the residents meet the 80% area median income requirements. Community solar is available for any household in Ameren's territory that meets the income eligibility requirement.
The Illinois Commerce Commission is expected to sign off on the projects in the upcoming weeks.
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