Press Release: September 1, 2016
Hands-on solar installation paid internship opportunity for current Leech Lake Tribal College’s Integrated Residential Builder students! Work with RREAL to install 200kW of solar on the Leech Lake Reservation, and obtain your needed registration to facilitate future work in the industry. Prepare your resume, be ready for an interview, and connect with Rochell Carpenter for more information by September 23rd!
And for more details:
On an individual level, low-income households spend on average 15% – 20% of their income on energy-related expenses. This puts a strain on already tight budgets and makes families significantly more susceptible to rising energy costs. Helping households save money on energy directly translates into a family’s ability to cover their other basic needs, including food, housing costs, education, transportation, child care and medical expenses. On a macro level, renewable energy provides broad community benefits, including local jobs, economic growth, private investment, utilization of local renewable resources for energy production, and lower rates of pollution. In short, solar provides significant benefits to low-income people who need it most.
Solar energy promises the opportunity to permanently address energy poverty with a renewable, locally produced, sustainable source of energy. Yet, solar energy systems are out of the reach of the low income families that could benefit most from the corresponding reduction in energy costs. While residential solar installations are booming in Minnesota and throughout the country, most are being installed to benefit relatively higher income households, depriving less affluent individuals and families the benefits of solar energy, resulting in a renewable divide. Mainstreaming solar energy beyond early adopters will require the adoption of more inclusive policies, programs, and financing options, as well as targeted education and marketing. Incorporating solar investments into existing programs for low-income Americans could provide long-lasting reductions in low-income household energy spending and reduce overall demand for energy assistance.
Solar has long been seen as a technology reserved for the wealthy and those passionate about environmental preservation and change. And, historically, the high cost of solar and the emphasis on incentives in the form of tax credits has put solar out of reach for the majority of individuals and families. Recently precipitously falling prices over the last decade, coupled with creative financing approaches, makes solar accessible for an increasing portion of the population. Because of these changing external conditions, combined with a positive political climate for solar development, this issue is now ripe for action. There is a critical need now to begin deploying solar to low-income communities and to develop effective models and policies to scale this development rapidly and broadly.
Having deployed over 425 single-family residential solar energy systems, RREAL envisions making significantly greater impact through the Community Shared Solar model. Centrally-located solar electric arrays, commonly called Community Shared Solar, promise to remove many of the obstacles to ownership in renewable generation, such as lack of a suitable site due to shading or other issues, or being a renter. Community Shared Solar offers the potential for more people to participate in the renewable economy.
With support from the Initiative Foundation, RREAL’s pilot Community Solar Assistance project on the Leech Lake Reservation, the first 100% low-income community solar installation in the State of Minnesota, will provide a unique capacity-building occasion to support training and renewable employment opportunities for band members. Select trainees will obtain their Registered Unlicensed Electrician license as required by the MN Department of Labor and Industry, and be prepared to also assist in the Solar for Schools installation occurring later this year at the Leech Lake Tribal College. Minnesota has some of the strictest laws in the nation regarding who is qualified to install solar energy, and this entry level designation will position trainees for a growing number of clean energy job opportunities across the state and beyond.
This internship opportunity is funded by the Initiative Foundation – their statement is: “This project was funded in part by the Initiative Foundation, a regional foundation.”
Special Projects Manager
3963 8th St. SW
Backus, MN 56435