As our current health crisis and political crisis flood the headlines, news of the ongoing climate emergency is relegated to the back pages, if it is covered at all. An avalanche of events, including the historically high number of hurricanes striking Central America, the Caribbean area, and the Gulf Coast, and the thousands of wildfires that have burned up the Western U.S., continue their fierce assault on people and places. These events demand public attention.

Also demanding attention are the burgeoning efforts to stem the climate emergency — efforts such as the recent decision by First United Church of Oak Park to subscribe to a local Illinois community solar installation. Enabled by the Future Energy Jobs Act, community solar allows ComEd customers to “go solar” without actually putting panels on their buildings. Institutions and individuals — whether they live in a house, a condo, or an apartment — can subscribe to a portion of the electricity produced by a solar farm and, in return, receive credits that reduce their electric bills.

So the good news is that organizations and individuals are searching for, and finding, effective solutions to the climate crisis. And they are finding that the particular benefits of community solar are many:

Contributing to the transition to a clean energy system, reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and providing better stewardship of our Mother Earth.

Helping to provide new well-paid jobs and economic diversity in rural areas of the state.

Accessing solar power easily and saving money at the same time.

Every business, organization, and resident should be encouraged to consider subscribing to the new, local community solar developments. The Citizens Utility Board website has excellent information on the community solar program, with a comparison of the companies that are offering it: https://www.citizensutilityboard.org/solar-in-the-community/#1587673700125-b12d2382-6775.

Jim Babcock

First United Church of Oak Park

Interfaith Green Network

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