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Monday, April 22, 2024

Update on Bloomington’s renewable energy work 

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In 2023, Bloomington, Indiana, invested $850,000 in solar expansion for residents, nonprofits and businesses in the city. These contributions make Bloomington a Gold SolSmart City, and the city said the additions have improved the Bloomington community. 

The Solar Energy Efficiency and Lighting Program (SEEL) gave $25,000 in grants to ten nonprofit organizations and ten small businesses in 2023. Community organizations took interest in this program, which is in partnership with MPI Solar. Through the program, recipients received help reducing their carbon footprint and saving money on utility costs. Over 311,360 KWH of electricity is expected to come from renewable energy from the installations made in 2023. That is enough to power 40 Bloomington homes a year. 

“The Bloomington Developmental Learning Center (BDLC) has always been an environmentally conscious organization. We compost, use energy-efficient lighting, plant trees, and grow our own garden. Because we are non-profit, we rarely have extra funds to spend, and if we do, we often ensure those funds go back into the pockets of our teachers,” said Katy New, BDLC executive director. “This grant was able to provide us the opportunity for solar panels that we would have never been able to do on our own.” 

Bloomington has also attempted to expand access to solar for low-income residents with its Low-Income Solar Program. The city provided $250,000 to Habitat for Humanity to install solar systems for ten low-income households in Bloomington. Organizations like this help ensure more affordable upfront housing costs and help reduce the energy burden for low-income communities. The necessary work to ensure these benefits are helping Bloomington’s most impacted residents is a priority for the city. 

The city is also doing work to reduce energy consumption and emissions from city-owned facilities. There have been solar installations on 33 city buildings since 2017. There are plans for two more solar installations in 2024. 

With these and other continued investments in renewable energy projects in 2024, Bloomington is on its way to achieving its renewable energy goals. 

Contact Racial Justice Reporter Garrett Simms at 317-762-7847

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