Rural Renewable Energy Alliance


Mission Statement

RREAL's mission is to make solar energy acessible to everyone. We accomplish this mission through two programs: 1) Solar Assistance, which works with low-income families and communities to install solar arrays to reduce energy costs and 2) Education and Community Outreach (ECO), which provides solar learning and workforce opportunities for learners of all ages.


An innovative organization fighting energy poverty with solar since 2000, RREAL is removing systemic barriers to energy sovereignty among disadvantaged communities. We are empowering low­income communities by making the benefits of solar energy accessible to all.
Founded in the small garage of a low­income individual seeking a better solution to his energy poverty, RREAL has evolved beyond its humble origins to an innovative national non­profit serving community across the upper Midwest and beyond. RREAL has served thousands of households, hundreds of service organizations, schools, hospitals, and economically disadvantaged communities.
As a first mover in the low­income solar space and a national thought leader on matters of energy equity, our efforts are providing economic opportunities for low­income families while demonstrating that solar is a powerful tool in the fight against poverty.
40 million Americans live in energy poverty and must choose between home energy and other basic needs such as housing and health care. In extreme cases, energy poverty presents the impossible choice of heating or eating. The community living in energy poverty is diverse and includes individuals of all ages and ethnicities. Native and rural communities are particularly hard hit due to higher costs of energy. Although few know of the pervasive problem of energy poverty, the geography is broad, and the demographics are diverse.
RREAL's community are those living in energy poverty facing the choices between home energy and other basicneeds as the agencies that serve them. Our community also includes those individuals seeking access to the benefits of clean energy and the solar workforce yet have few opportunities to do so.

Program Details

RREAL's Solar Assistance program is catalyzing a national conversation about energy equity while forging a breakthrough model of low­income assistance. Rather than just paying low­income families' energy bills through energy assistance, our efforts create structural change by serving low­income communities with a long term solution to energy poverty. Unique in the nonprofit sector, RREAL advances its mission with an applied advocacy model as a design­build organization.
In tandem with Solar Assistance, RREAL's Education and Community Outreach (ECO) program is building an inclusive clean energy workforce by training members of the low­income communities and Native Nations we serve. Our educational efforts create career pathways and workforce capacities to advance energy sovereignty. RREAL's ECO program began in 2002 to help at­risk youth through hands­on experiential service learning. The program is now building and integrating site­based­solar energy systems into STEAM curriculum of schools and tribal colleges. RREAL's educational efforts are creating curricular hubs and unconventional opportunities for unconventional learners.
Primary Issue
Climate Change
Secondary Issue
3963 8th St. SW
Backus, MN 56435
United States
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