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South Bend announces first group of Energy Assistance and Solar Savings recipients

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South Bend's Energy Assistance and Solar Savings Initiative is meant to help schools, nonprofits and other community organizations install solar panels and make other energy upgrades.

The city of South Bend has announced the first eight recipients of its new Energy Assistance and Solar Savings Initiative, or EASSI.

The initiative was announced in January and aims to help community organizations install solar panels and make energy efficiency upgrades.

Local nonprofits, schools, public libraries, medical facilities, grocery stores, and churches are eligible to apply. The spring cohort includes:

  • YWCA North Central Indiana
  • Near Northwest Neighborhood
  • The Beacon Resource Center
  • La Casa de Amistad
  • South Bend Civic Theatre
  • Paramount Schools of Excellence
  • Holy Cross Parish and School
  • St. Adalbert Catholic School

Recipients are eligible for free energy assessments, grant funding for sustainable improvements and optional low-interest loans from local lenders.

“Operating programming in a 60+ year old facility with very outdated energy sources equates to substantial utility cost, especially in the winter months,” Jeff Walker, executive director of The Beacon Resource Center, said in a release. “Through the assessment and financial support of the EASSI program, The Beacon… will be able to reduce building emissions, reduce energy bills and become energy independent.”

The program can also assist with project management and help organizations contact qualified contractors.

“Thanks to the cohort's support, we are putting forth a plan to increase awareness around going solar,” La Casa de Amistad executive director Juan Constantino said in a release. “Our goal is to install solar panels on our new building's roof and to advocate for others to consider doing the same across the City of South Bend.”

A release from the city says it plans to accept another round of applications and name a new group of recipients in the fall.

Contact Gemma at gdicarlo@wvpe.org or follow her on Twitter at @gemma_dicarlo.

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Gemma DiCarlo comes to Indiana by way of Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and certificates in New Media and Sustainability. She has radio experience from her time as associate producer of Athens News Matters, the flagship public affairs program at WUGA-FM.