Five groupings of solar panels are now catching sunlight around the Leech Lake Indian Reservation, producing electricity that will ultimately help tribal families in need.

The shared community solar garden is the first of its kind dedicated to help low-income people in Minnesota, and the first in the nation formally integrated with an energy assistance program.

“There’s a disproportional impact on our low-income neighbors when the cost of energy goes up,” said Jason Edens, director of the nonprofit Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, which led the project. “If we can stabilize the cost of energy on behalf of our low-income communities, we can address one of the root cases of energy poverty.”

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