Illinois recently passed a sweeping new energy law that includes a program to help low-income people tap the benefits of solar energy.
Pino: “It will fund incentives for rooftop solar projects in low-income communities. It will fund community solar projects where the subscribers are low-income households. And it will fund incentives for public facilities and nonprofits that serve low-income families to install solar.”
That’s Juliana Pino, policy director at the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization in Chicago, a group that helped negotiate the policy.
The program will boost the number of rooftop solar systems and create local jobs in these neighborhoods. It also calls for training programs to prepare people in low-income communities for jobs in the solar industry. It even includes incentives to hire vulnerable people.
Pino: “There is a goal for at least 2,000 jobs to be created for persons with a criminal record or alumni of the foster care system.”
So the law will address environmental and social issues.
Pino: “We really believe that access to clean energy that provides living-wage work and wealth-building is something that should happen everywhere.”
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy.