Background

Several area power plants and the nation’s fifth-largest trash-to-energy incinerator pollute the air and water in Hartford, CT; at least one consequence of this is the greatly elevated rates of respiratory illness and cancer among city residents. Nearly 20% of Hartford children suffer from asthma, a rate more than three times that of children in its suburbs. At the same time, the energy from local power facilities comes at an increasing price. Local nonprofits struggle to meet that cost while continuing worthwhile programs for Hartford’s low-income, disadvantaged population of color.

Goals

Our project aims to reduce the need for dirty energy and lower energy costs for several local nonprofits. We intend to install solar panels on the buildings that house two Hartford, CT, nonprofit organizations in order to bring their carbon footprint to zero. This will help reduce the demand on local power plants and help protect city residents’ health and environment. We will have 10 low-income students of color from local vocational schools install the panels. The experience will help prepare the youth for potential full-time jobs in solar/ green installation over the long term.

Main activities

We will have 10 students from local vocational schools install solar panels at the buildings of our non-profit partners, Ebony Horsewomen and Friends of Keney Park, so that those organizations can operate on carbon-free solar for all their electricity needs. This work-based learning project will prepare the participating low-income students for jobs in solar and green energy installation, helping make Hartford a sustainable city going into the future.

Results

Our project will allow two Hartford nonprofit organizations to reduce their carbon footprint to zero. This will help curb pollution impacts to local air and water and improve health outcomes for city residents who suffer from respiratory illnesses and other conditions. Since the nonprofits assisted will run on significantly reduced cost solar, they also will be able to put more income toward programs that benefit the community.

Our project also will help prepare 10 youth for careers in solar and green energy installation. They will be the forefront of a force creating more carbon-free Hartford buildings.