Tanya Duffie may as well be receiving keys to the city this weekend as a project led by Habitat for Humanity Lake County presents keys to her new, energy efficient home.
The Waukegan single mother of four was selected to receive the house as part of Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build initiative. This is the first U.S. Women Build project in the organization’s 28-year history that will include the installation of solar panels that will produce clean renewable energy.
Solar panels will be installed on September 21 at 10 Washington Terrace in Waukegan as part of the house dedication ceremony.
The Sun Company, the U.S.’s first solely woman-owned national energy company, donated the solar panels, inverter, and installation equipment.
The contribution showcases solar power as a more affordable energy solution for lower-income families hoping to reduce their utility bills, and it has already inspired the family receiving the home to consider careers in renewable energy and other traditionally male-dominated professions.
“Electricity is a necessity. But energy costs in certain parts of the country make housing unaffordable, particularly for working-class and lower income families,” explained Joley Michaelson, CEO of The Sun Company. “At The Sun Company, we make housing more affordable by making electricity more affordable.Through innovative renewable energy products and services, like our LIFE program, we help make electricity accessible and affordable while paving the long road back to a healthy climate.”
In addition to The Sun Company and Habitat for Humanity Lake County, other companies involved in the Women Build project include All Bright Solar, Elevate Energy, Go Green Wilmette, Carmaine Mean, Rethink Electric, and The Kindling Group.
“The solar panels dovetail with our goal to build strength, stability, self-reliance and shelter in local communities,” added Debbie Murphy, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Lake County. “Energy use is a large part of every homeowner’s monthly payment, and this will help them for years to come.”
Women Build events provide opportunities for women to take proactive steps in serving their communities and learning new professional skills. A team featuring local volunteers and family members started construction on the home in May. Rethink Electric is heading up the solar installation with volunteers throughout their company as well as supplying the material, labor, and expertise to make this project successful.
“This definitely has brought us closer together as a family,”says Duffie about the Women Build project.
“By it being our own house, it’s even better. We’ve learned a lot by helping build our own home. This has taught us what partnership is about. It has been a great experience for us as a family to be able to do this.”