‘Blacks In Green’ And Sunrun Announce Partnership To Increase Access To Solar Energy, Jobs

New partnership to bring more solar energy and economic opportunity to traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities in Chicago

Blacks in Green (BIG), an environmental economic development organization designed to tackle pollution and poverty, announced today that it is partnering with the nation’s leading residential solar, battery storage, and energy services company, Sunrun, to expand access to solar energy and jobs in the Chicagoland area. 

The goals of the partnership are to increase opportunities for Southside Chicago homeowners to access clean, affordable home solar energy, as well as increase clean energy career opportunities for residents in traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities. 

“Communities of color contribute the least yet suffer first and worst from the harms of global warming,” said Naomi Davis, President & Founder at Blacks in Green. “Our partnership with Sunrun is key to our ‘Sustainable South Side’ commitment — forging a path to 100% employment for our neighbors via the new green economy by 2025. This is essential to helping close Chicago’s racial health and wealth gap.”

The partnership includes a commitment from Sunrun to recruit solar trainees from the BIG network and learn more about opportunities with the company in the sales and installation of solar energy systems. Sunrun will also support BIG at educational events throughout the community so residents can learn about rooftop solar, including the Illinois “Solar for All” low-income solar program, designed by policymakers to increase access to solar energy for underserved communities.  

“Sunrun strives to provide homeowners at all income levels with greater access to clean home solar energy and help them take better control of their electricity bills,” said Amy Heart, Director of Public Policy at Sunrun. “We are focused on creating a more diverse and inclusive solar workforce and community. Our partnership with Blacks in Green, along with forward-looking state policy, will be critical in helping us expand this effort and bring more clean, affordable energy to the communities that need it most.”

“As Illinois continues to build up its clean energy economy, we must make sure that no communities are left behind,” State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago, 3rd)said. “I am grateful that Blacks In Green and Sunrun are working together to ensure that neighborhoods like those in the Southside are being included to help create healthier communities with clean energy and access to good jobs.”

“The clean energy boom holds great promise for building both new careers and new businesses,” said Representative Lamont Robinson (D-Chicago).  “I am excited to be a partner in assuring these opportunities are available in the communities I represent. The partnership between Blacks in Green and Sunrun will play a significant role in making that happen.”


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