Cleveland company making solar energy free and accessible through EPA grant – News 5 Cleveland WEWS

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CLEVELAND — Installing solar panels can cost anything from $15,000 to $27,000, but experts say they could save you more than $1,500 on your energy bill each year. So, one Cleveland company is using an EPA grant to bring those savings and make solar energy accessible to low-income neighborhoods.

In Maple Heights, Danielle Swift is a proud mother of five, but providing for her family in today’s economy has its challenges.

“Our gas bill is very high, our light bill is a bit astronomical at times,” said Swift. 

To make ends meet, she works two jobs and tries to save money where she can, including holding off on house projects and cutting back on energy use. 

“We don’t make enough really to be able to pay these crazy bills, but you have to because I don’t make not enough to qualify for the other programs,” said Swift. 

To help lift that burden, Growth Ops, a Cleveland company, plans to install solar panels in homes just like hers for free. 

“We found a way to stack the tax incentives, the tax credits and the tax rebates in a way that will cost the low-income households $0 for the installation of the solar panels,” said Michael Jeans, president and CEO of Growth Ops and Go Green Energy.  

Growth Ops was chosen to receive a $156 million EPA grant to install solar panels in 31 low-income communities across eight states, including Ohio. 

“The Department of Energy calculates energy burden as 5% of household income going to the cost of utilities. We have homes in our lower-income communities that are paying 30% of their income going toward energy costs,” said Jeans. 

Jeans adds that with this, they will increase energy savings, reduce carbon emissions and invest in disadvantaged communities like Maple Heights, where Mayor Annette Blackwell tells News 5 the community has been struggling in many ways. 

“We have a 22% poverty rate, and people were losing their homes— a huge property tax delinquency, food insecurity, housing insecurity, poor performing report card— so we needed some good news,” said Blackwell. 

Maple Heights has a population of more than 23,000 people; the mayor believes this program could affect more than 30%. 

“We have a 65% homeowner rate, so out of that, probably more than half will benefit from this program,” said Blackwell. 

Which includes Danielle Swift, who’s used to carrying the weight of the world.

“I’ve always had great examples of people that have taken care of their families. So I don’t I don’t really know anything else. It’s just it was done for me,” said Swift. 

But now she feels like she’s getting some relief. 

Installations could begin as soon as Sept. 30. Growth Ops says that it will replace the roof if needed for free as well. To find out more about the program, CLICK HERE..

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