City Of Bloomington’s Leadership In Sustainability Expands Renewable Energy Production Across The Community In 2023

~ Bloomington, a Gold SolSmart City, has made significant investments in solar expansion for its residents, nonprofits, and businesses in 2023. The city has allocated $850,000 towards this initiative and is pleased to report on the positive impacts it has had on the community.

The Solar, Energy Efficiency, and Lighting Program (SEEL) was launched in 2023 and provided $25,000 grants to ten nonprofit organizations and ten small businesses. In collaboration with MPI Solar, the program received an overwhelming response from community organizations. The installations completed through this program are expected to generate over 311,600 kWh of electricity from renewable sources in the first year alone. This is enough to power 40 homes in Bloomington for a year.

Katy New, Executive Director of Bloomington Developmental Learning Center (BDLC), expressed her gratitude for the grant received through SEEL. She stated that as a non-profit organization with limited funds, they rarely have the opportunity to invest in sustainable initiatives. However, with this grant, they were able to install solar panels which would have been otherwise unaffordable for them.

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Apart from SEEL projects, the City also focused on expanding access to solar energy for low-income residents through its Low Income Solar Program. A total of $250,000 was allocated to Habitat for Humanity to install solar systems for ten low-income households in Bloomington. Additionally, Bloomington Housing Authority received $100,000 and up to 420 pre-purchased solar panels for installation at Walnut Woods Apartments. These efforts not only make housing more affordable but also help reduce energy burden for low-income communities. The City aims to ensure that sustainability benefits reach all members of the community and make it more equitable and accessible.

In addition to community-wide programs, the City is also taking steps towards reducing energy consumption and emissions from its own facilities. Since 2017, solar installations have been deployed on 33 City buildings, with plans for two more installations in 2024. These installations have generated over 16,768,181 kWh of power and reduced 13,770.91 metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions. This is equivalent to powering 2,165 homes in Bloomington for a year.

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The latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory highlights that residential and commercial energy consumption is the largest source of emissions in Bloomington. Therefore, it is a high priority sector for the City. With continued investments in renewable energy projects in 2024, the City is on track to achieve its target of increasing distributed renewable energy to 250,000 MWH of total generation by 2030 as outlined in the Climate Action Plan. These efforts, along with investments in energy efficiency, waste management, alternative transportation, and building and equipment electrification, are crucial steps towards making Bloomington a net-zero community by 2050.

For more information on the City's sustainability initiatives, please visit the Sustainable Bloomington webpage. The City remains committed to promoting sustainable practices and creating a greener future for all its residents.

Filed Under: Government, City

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