Bloomington City Programs Opting for More Solar Energy Usage
The City of Bloomington is taking steps to transition to renewable energy sources with the help of two programs launched in 2021 by the Department of Economic and Sustainable Development. These programs are aimed at helping homes, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses within the city limits to transition to solar energy by providing financial support for renewable energy installations.
The Bloomington Green Home Improvement Program (BGHIP) focuses on homeowners and is partnered with Hoosier Hills Credit Union and Clean Energy Credit Union to provide discounted interest rates on financing for energy efficiency programs and solar installations. Homeowners with a yearly income of $150,000 or less are eligible for thousand-dollar rebates based on income. Since the program’s launch in 2021, over $20,000 has been provided to residents in the form of direct rebates.
The Solar, Energy Efficiency, & Lighting Program (SEEL) is similar to BGHIP but is aimed at nonprofit organizations and businesses in Bloomington. The program provides energy estimates and works with financial partners for these solar projects. Since 2023, the SEEL program has been extended to small businesses.
Both programs have partnered with MPI Solar as their solar installer. After the application process for these programs is accepted, homeowners and businesses will work with MPI Solar to install solar energy systems.
To manage the volume of solar projects being worked on, the application process for SEEL is broken into cohorts, while applications for BGHIP are open all year. The first cohort for SEEL closed on February 24, and the second cohort will open a week later.
The city is also partnered with the Solar Indiana Renewable Energy Network (SIREN), a nonprofit volunteer-run group that focuses on educating and promoting the use of solar power systems. SIREN helps the city with vendor selection for the Solarize Bloomington Program, which helps consumers make better decisions about energy and negotiate costs of solar adoption.
The federal government provides the city with grants for larger installations to increase solar energy use. The city’s partnership with SIREN has helped to make many decisions about transitioning to solar energy in the past six years.
The initiatives taken by the city of Bloomington, along with its partnerships with various organizations, demonstrate a commitment to transitioning to clean energy sources and reducing carbon emissions.