Minneapolis project demonstrates a way to make solar panels affordable ”Yale Climate Connections


Rooftop solar panels generate clean energy and help residents save money on their utility bills. But for many people, the upfront costs of installing solar power put it out of reach.

“It’s almost impossible for members of our community to be able to secure funding for a project like this,” says Kristel Porter, North Minneapolis resident and founder of MN Renewable Now.

The organization has launched an effort to hire and train local workers to install solar power on 24 properties in North Minneapolis, a predominantly low-income black community.

To pay for solar energy, the project relies on investors, incentive programs and neighborhood revitalization funds.

MN Renewable Now and its partners will retain ownership of the solar systems for six years. During this time, they will sell the electricity to the owner at a discount and use the money to pay back the investors. Then they will transfer the ownership of the solar system to the resident.

“So in six years, they have a solar panel that they own on top of their house,” says Porter. “And now they’re selling that energy back to the utility company. “

She says the approach can be replicated, so more communities can benefit from the renewable energy boom.

Reporting Credit: ChavoBart Digital Media

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