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Eugene community buildings getting new solar panels

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Eugene Mission rooftop solar panels

EUGENE, Ore. -- New solar panels are helping lower electricity costs at two organizations in Eugene dedicated to helping others.

The Eugene-Springfield chapter of the NAACP is renovating the Mims House in the 300 block of Eugene’s High Street. In 1948, the Mims House became the first home in Eugene to be bought by an African-American family, at a time when many barriers existed to African-American home ownership. In addition to other preservation and renovation efforts, the NAACP used Eugene Water and Electric Board rebates and other incentives to install a new set of solar panels, a backup battery and an electric vehicle charger. Miles Pendleton, the president of the Eugene-Springfield NAACP branch, says using renewable power such as solar energy helps represent the nuanced interactions the environment has with marginalized communities.

“I think it's essential that we represent that solar energy and these kinds of pursuits are what we need to do in order to truly realize equity across the board, but certainly here locally,” Pendleton said.

The Eugene Mission in the 1400 block of west First Avenue was also awarded $50,000 through EWEB’s 2021 Greenpower Grant, and had a system installed this spring. The Eugene Mission is one of the largest homeless rescue shelters in Oregon. The solar panels are helping power a learning center that teaches Mission guests vocational and life skills. They are also helping power a culinary training kitchen where guests cook food to serve to groups using the Mission’s event space.

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