Image credit: Imani Solar
Having just finished reading The Solar Century—Jeremy Leggett's inspiring and ambitious manifesto for a solarized world—I'm all fired up about the potential to harness the power of the sun. But while high-end solar-powered homes are becoming an increasingly common (and I would argue positive) phenomenon in our towns and cities, any push to fulfill a truly solarized world has to be an inclusive vision. That's why it's encouraging to see solar being installed on affordable housing, not to mention solar as an empowerment tool for the world's rural poor. Now an LA based non-profit is embracing solar too—cutting its costs as it works to transform women's lives in South LA, and serving as a demonstration project for the community around it. A New Way of Life works in South LA to "help women and girls break the cycle of entrapment in the criminal justice system and lead healthy and satisfying lives." The group has teamed up with Imani Solar—a local renewable energy company to install a 2.1 kilowatt solar power system that, it hopes, will reduce its electrical costs by 20%. Additional energy efficiency measures will shave a further 15% from their electricity bills.
But cutting costs is only part of the story. As the video below shows, both A New Way of Life and Imani Solar view decentralized renewable energy as a powerful tool for community empowerment and job creation. In fact, they gathered on Martin Luther King Jr day to celebrate the contribution that solar can make to the great man's dream.