In observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday and National Day of Service, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) marked the launch of a Solar Equity Initiative in partnership with various solar groups this past weekend.
According to the NAACP, the new economic and environmental justice initiative aims to connect over 30 communities of color and low-income communities across the nation with solar energy infrastructure for homes and community centers, as well as skills training for solar jobs, all supported by strengthened solar equity policies.
Partners supporting this national initiative include GRID Alternatives, the Solar Energy Industries Association, Sunrun, United Methodist Women, Vote Solar, and others. The partners kicked off the initiative on Saturday with a solar installation in Los Angeles at The Jenesse Center, a nationally recognized non-profit domestic violence prevention and intervention organization.
The event featured NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson and other local leaders, and clients served by Jenesse got hands-on training from GRID Alternatives. According to the NAACP, the Jenesse solar project, which is supported by grants from the initiative partners and equipment donations from JinkoSolar, will have both environmental and economic benefits. Lifetime financial savings for the Jenesse Center is estimated to be approximately $48,825, which will enable Jenesse to infuse more funds into continuing its 35 years of services.
“Underserved communities cannot be left behind in a clean energy transition,” said Johnson. “Clean energy is a fundamental civil right which must be available to all, within the framework of a just transition.”
In launching the Solar Equity Initiative, the NAACP made a year-long commitment to provide solar job skills training to 100 individuals, installation of solar panels on 20 households and 10 community centers, and strengthen equity in solar access policies in at least five states across the country.
Photo courtesy of Vote Solar’s Twitter account: NAACP Chairman Leon Russell and President Derrick Johnson on the roof during the solar installation launch event on Saturday.