Press release: City of Bloomington’s Leadership in Sustainability Expands Renewable Energy Production Across the Community in 2023

The following was sent to the Bloomingtonian:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 7, 2024

For more information, please contact:

Shawn Miya, Assistant Director of Sustainability, Economic and Sustainable Development

[email protected] or 812-349-3837

McKaylyn Lynch, Sustainability Program Coordinator, Economic and Sustainable Development

[email protected] or 812-349-3803

Angela Van Rooy, Interim Communications Director, Office of the Mayor

[email protected] or 812-349-3505

CITY OF BLOOMINGTON’S LEADERSHIP IN SUSTAINABILITY EXPANDS RENEWABLE ENERGY PRODUCTION ACROSS THE COMMUNITY IN 2023 

Bloomington, Ind. – In 2023, the City of Bloomington lived up to its designation as a Gold SolSmart City, investing $850,000 in solar expansion to residents, nonprofits, and businesses in Bloomington. The City is pleased to report on the positive impacts these investments have made in the Bloomington community. 

In 2023, the Solar, Energy Efficiency, and Lighting Program (SEEL) provided $25,000 grants to ten nonprofit organizations and ten small businesses. In partnership with MPI Solar, the program saw incredible interest from community organizations and was able to help recipients reduce their carbon footprint and save money on utility costs. Of the installations completed in 2023, over 311,600 kWh of electricity is expected to come from renewable energy in the first year of production – enough to power 40 homes in Bloomington for 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.”

In addition to the SEEL projects, the City sought to expand access to solar for low income residents through its Low Income Solar Program. Through this program, the City provided $250,000 to Habitat for Humanity to install solar systems for ten low income households in Bloomington, as well as $100,000 and up to 420 pre-purchased solar panels to Bloomington Housing Authority for installation at Walnut Woods Apartments. These organizations help to not only ensure more affordable upfront housing costs, but can now also help reduce energy burden for low-income communities. Ensuring that benefits are flowing to Bloomington’s most impacted residents, and paving the way to make sustainability more equitable and accessible is a priority for the City. 

Accompanying the community-wide programs, the City continues to strive to reduce energy consumption and emissions from City-owned facilities as well. Since 2017, the City has deployed solar installations on 33 City buildings, with two additional installations planned in 2024. Since municipal solar installations began in 2017, the City has generated more than 16,768,181 kWh of power from solar, totaling 13,770.91 metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions reductions. This is equivalent to powering 2,165 homes in Bloomington for a year. 

As highlighted in the most recent 2022 Greenhouse Gas Inventory, emissions from residential and commercial energy consumption continue to contribute the largest source of emissions in Bloomington, making it a high priority sector. With continued investments into renewable energy projects in 2024, the City is well on its way to achieving its renewable energy target of increasing distributed renewable energy to 250,000 MWH of total generation by 2030, as laid out in the Climate Action Plan. These strategies, paired with a strategic investment in energy efficiency, waste management, alternative transportation, and building and equipment electrification, keep Bloomington on track to reaching the goal of becoming a net zero community by 2050. 

Please visit the Sustainable Bloomington webpage for more information about the City’s sustainability initiatives.

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