When Effie Brunson took Landmark Education’s Self-Expression and Leadership Program last year, she became inspired to both make solar power more widely available in her home state of Texas, and help low-income families reduce their energy costs. She took on both of these goals with the creation of Rays of Hope, which works with other notable local organizations to provide and install solar photovoltaic systems on houses that are either being built or retrofitted for low-income families in Austin.
Rays of Hope is working to provide five homes with these solar PV panels this year, through funding from state and local organizations such as solar panel manufacturers and other members of the business community. Earlier this year, Rays of Hope was written about by the Texas Solar Energy Society, whose article appears below.
A Chance to Make a Difference
As fuel costs continue to rise and people become increasingly aware of the relationship between climate change and emissions associated with traditional energy generation, the demand for cleaner resources is growing. Solar power systems can meet this demand by providing clean energy with no emissions. Austin Energy’s current strategic plan includes a goal of delivering 30% of the energy they provide from renewable resources by 2020 with 100 megawatts of that renewable capacity from solar power. We’d like to help Austin Energy achieve that goal.
Rays of Hope is committed to helping low-income homeowners with relief from high utility bills by providing solar PV systems to meet the energy needs of these households. The project will purchase solar electric equipment and coordinate the installation of that equipment by hand-on workshops open to the public. Rays of Hope eliminates the initial investment costs for these residents, enabling them to positively impact the environment and significantly reduce what is often their 2nd highest monthly expense.
The pilot installation will take place March 13 and 14 at 6912 Villita Avenida in Austin, on a house being constructed by American YouthWorks Casa Verde Builders. Once complete, the house will be put on the open market to be sold as affordable housing.Â American YouthWorks is an organization which gives at risk youth a second chance through job training programs and education in their charter school. By donating to Rays of Hope, you will be helping to purchase a solar array for a low-income family, giving them financial self-sufficiency and exposure to solar technology.