Woodie Bessler, right, a member of Solar Indiana Renewable Energy Network, teaches a volunteer how to wire an inverter that is part of a solar installation. (Anne Hedin / Courtesy photo)
Woodie Bessler, right, a member of Solar Indiana Renewable Energy Network, teaches a volunteer how to wire an inverter that is part of a solar installation. (Anne Hedin / Courtesy photo)
In much the same way Habitat for Humanity works to provide affordable housing for people with lower incomes, Indiana Solar for All strives to make solar power possible for homeowners who can’t afford the cost of solar installations.

So far, nine families have had a 10-panel, 3-kilowatt solar system installed on their homes. Another 11 families have been accepted into the program and will have systems installed this summer, fall or next spring.

“They’re all local,” said Stephanie Kimball, founder and president of Indiana Solar for All, adding all installations on homes have been in Bloomington so far.

The Bloomington-based group was conceived in August 2016, when Stephanie Kimball, founder and president of Indiana Solar for All, began talking with members of Solar Indiana Renewable Energy Network, also known as SIREN, and Ryan Zaricki, owner of Whole Sun Designs. Roadblocks in the form of bills before the Indiana General Assembly that would end net metering, which is one of the financial reasons home solar is a good investment for Hoosiers, kept Kimball, Zaricki and others from moving forward with the plan until 2018.

Kimball, who had Whole Sun Designs help install solar panels on the roof of her barn at her Monroe County property, kept working on the program because she understood how expensive installing solar power could be.

The city of Bloomington, in partnership with SIREN, continues to offer a Solarize program that allows homeowners, businesses and nonprofits in Monroe, Brown, Greene, Lawrence, Morgan, Orange and Owen counties to install solar panels at favorable rates through group-buy arrangements. Even so, there are still homeowners who cannot afford the cost, Kimball explained.
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