South Bend, nonprofits dedicated to renewable energy

Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 6:56 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The City of South Bend and five local nonprofits held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate their new clean energy systems.

Happening at The Clubhouse of St. Joseph County, the Energy Assistance Solar Savings Initiative, or EASSI, is an investment in South Bend’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050.

Out of the five nonprofits, The Clubhouse, La Casa de Amistad, and Near Northwest Neighborhood have already installed their panels, with Beacon Resource Center and Paramount School of Excellence scheduled to install in November 2022 and Spring of 2023.

The nonprofits tell 16 News Now that they are already seeing their energy bills drop significantly, which allows them to reinvest more resources into their mission.

“In January, the city launched this as a pilot program,” said Evie Bauman, Director of Sustainability for the City of South Bend. “It’s in line with the goals in the city’s climate action plan, which lays out strategies to get us to carbon neutral by 2050. So, we’re looking to increase energy efficiency across buildings in our community and increase solar energy across our community as well. So, this program is really aimed at helping nonprofits do both those things.”

CDFI Friendly South Bend and IFF are lenders and real estate development consultants that help nonprofits with their facilities management.

Crossroads Solar produces the solar panels used for the project. Based here in South Bend, all of Crossroad’s employees are former felons and are getting a new lease on life after incarceration.

So far, the solar panels placed on the nonprofits have produced a combined 350kW or the equivalent of saving 30,00 gallons of gasoline.

The city will host the EASSI Showcase on November 16 from 530-730 p.m. at the Howard Park Community Center.