LaGrange Housing Authority New Solar Energy System produces Energy and Hope
[HUD SE Regional Administrator Denise Cleveland-Leggett (fourth from left) along with community leaders, residents and children participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new solar energy array for the LaGrange Housing Authority residents.]

While for some the solar panel newly erected to benefit LaGrange Housing Authority (LHA) residents resembles a large flower it brings not only a new sense of energy but also hope to residents. Funded by The Solutions Project and installed through a partnership with the LaGrange Housing Authority and Jackson Services the plan is to educate residents, while providing healthy and efficient homes. Denise Cleveland- Leggett, HUD Southeast Regional Administrator joined other local area dignitaries recently in recognizing in a ribbon cutting ceremony the nexus of efficient energy production and employment opportunities associated with solar technology.

"We want the housing authority here to be something that it has never been before, but this is bigger than me," said Zsa Zsa Heard, the CEO of the LaGrange Housing Authority. "This is about our residents, and we are proving that there are ways to serve people, and they can go up and not down. We are not handing it out. This is just a tool to teach them. Our children get to learn about solar like they have never learned before. They've had a class before this project."

"I have also had the chance to see the services that the housing authority provides and meet the students that they are working with, and this is exactly what we want to see," said Cleveland-Leggett. "The energy efficiency is fantastic. It is phenomenal. As was mentioned earlier, the money can go back from the savings to help residents as well."

Children at LHA were provided an opportunity to learn about solar power and job opportunities associated with the science that come with it during a camp prior to the ribbon cutting. The solar energy industry is booming. Since 2008, the amount of solar energy connected to the grid has increased more than 38 fold, reaching 42.4 GW today. This expansion has resulted in the creation of thousands of new solar industry jobs, with more than 260,000 people currently employed and projections of major growth in the future.

"We will be able to give power, and what we want to do with those savings is put it back into our children," Heard said. "We don't have the funds a lot of times to do a lot of things that we want, but if we save money here, we can put it back into our children and those programs will grow."

LaGrange Housing Authority is dedicated to provide a premier safe, secure, and diverse community where families are encouraged to set life goals through education, gainful employment, and healthy life styles, the LHA Founded in 1953 will never waver from its commitment to provide safe, affordable housing for the people who need it most by adhering to the core values.