By Maria Gallucci, Yale Environment 360. Published at the
Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Isbel “Izzy” Palans lives in a small cabin nestled among mountain peaks and towering trees in the Colorado Rockies. Her home is often shaded and, during the long winters, buried under heaps of snow. Her monthly utility bills show credits for solar electricity production, but no solar panels are affixed to her roof. Instead, the power comes from a solar array some 60 miles away in a nearby valley. Last year, the panels nearly slashed her energy bill in half. “I’ve been thrilled,” said Palans, a 76-year-old retired waitress who relies partly on Social Security benefits to make ends meet.
Palans is a subscriber to a 145-kilowatt solar array project run by Holy Cross Energy, a rural
utility cooperative. Built with state funding, the program provides solar credits to more than 40
low-income households in western Colorado that otherwise wouldn’t have the financial or
technical means to access renewable energy. The venture is just one of a growing number of
so-called “community solar” projects across the United States focused on delivering renewable energy — and the cost-savings it can provide — to low-income households, from California to Minnesota to Massachusetts. Continue reading here.
Cooperative Energy Futures Photo: A 204-kilowatt community solar array being installed on the roof of the Shiloh Temple International Ministries in Minneapolis.
Maria Gallucci is a freelance science journalist and the 2017-18 Energy Journalism Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. She currently
covers clean energy development and environmental issues in the world of maritime cargo shipping. Maria was previously a reporter for
Mashable, InsideClimate News, International Business Times, and Mexico City press, and an editor at Makeshift magazine.