Meet the Man Bringing Cheap Renewable Energy to His Hometown

Meet the Man Bringing Cheap Renewable Energy to His Hometown

When Highland Park, Michigan, a predominately Black city surrounded by Detroit, had its streetlights repossessed in 2011, because of a $4 million unpaid street lighting bill, Ryter Cooperative Industries L3C stepped in to help install solar-powered streetlights in the city’s neighborhoods.

Energy cost inequality is a problem in many areas throughout the country. Low-income households spend 10% of their income on electricity—four times higher than the average household, according to a recent report. So while the median electricity bill in the United States in 2013 was around $114 a month, many low-income families paid more than $200 a month.

Some renewable energy advocacy organizations have attributed the cost inequality to the lack of community engagement and awareness of renewable energy programs in low-income communities.

To bridge that gap in Detroit, Ali Dirul started RCI, a low-profit, limited liability project management company that works with grassroots organizations to implement sustainable and renewable energy projects in metro Detroit area neighborhoods. Founded in 2015, RCI also educates and trains residents to implement renewable energy themselves, particularly solar energy—a type of renewal energy from the sun—which has proven to lower energy costs…”

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