Success Stories

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The Power to Make a Difference

RREAL's mission is to make solar energy accessible to all communities.

 

Since 2000, RREAL has worked to bring solar power to more low-income families and communities as a sustainable solution to energy poverty.

 

Throughout our 20 year history, RREAL and our design-build partner, REAL Solar have completed solar installations in communities around the world, from Liberia to Vermont, Kansas, and Minnesota. We've worked with many tribal nations, schools, and other partners to bring clean, affordable solar power to people and communities of all income levels.

 

In 2020, RREAL's board of directors voted to refocus RREAL's work on communities in Central and Northern Minnesota, hoping to have a tangible impact reducing poverty with solar power, solar education, and solar workforce development projects in our region.

 

But the work we've done over the past two decades remains important, despite our change in focus for the future. Here's a glimpse of some of the important past programs that RREAL and all our many partners, funders, and supporters have done, together.

Thank you to everyone who has supported our work through the years, believing that we have the power to make a difference with clean, solar power and working with us to make that happen.

Solar for Hospitals
in Liberia

Over the past few years, in partnership with the Bold Women of the ELCA and ELCA synods across Minnesota, RREAL worked to install solar arrays at Phebe and Curran Hospitals in Liberia to power essential services, reduce reliance on dirty, expensive, hard to get diesel fuel, and help to provide secure health care for more people in SubSaharan Africa.

In 2021, working with Pickering & Associates, RREAL's work in Liberia came to a successful conclusion as projects were completed and updated and 890 panels were shipped to assist Pickering & Associates in providing small solar systems to power rural clinic in remote parts of Liberia.

Huge thanks to all who made this work possible. Special thanks to the Ilsababy Foundation for financial support and Global Health Ministries for logistical support.

Solar to Reduce Energy Poverty

RREAL installed the first low-income community solar array integrated into energy assistance on the Leech Lake Ojibwe Reservation in 2016.

Two more community solar arrays serving veterans were installed at Tri-County Community Action Partnership in Little Falls, MN in 2019 and 2020. Another array was constructed in 2019 with Southeastern Vermont Community Action. All arrays continue to offset energy costs for low-income residents.

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Solar Powered Furnaces

The Solar Powered Furnace is a state of the art, passive solar air heating system patented by RREAL to integrate with residential and commercial buildings of all sizes.

 

Solar Powered Furnaces are now manufactured and sold by 8th Fire Solar in Ponsford, Minnesota. Learn more here.

African Children Today in Rakai, Uganda

In 2020, RREAL completed the installation of a 100 kW  solar microgrid at the African Children Today Junior Academy in the Rakai district of Uganda. Working with Minneapolis based African Children Today, this solar array powers a bakery and school for about 1,500 children, nearly all of whom have been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic .

This microgrid provides a sustainable, long-term, more affordable energy solution that frees up resources for other critical needs and essential services. Huge thanks to our friends at African Children Today for making this project possible.

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Awards and Recognition

  • 2019 Bush Prize Recipient

  • 2019 DOE Solar in Your Community Challenge

  • 2018 Energy Globe Award

  • 2018 Brian D. Robertson Memorial Fund Award

  • 2018 Environmental Initiative Award

  • 2017 Outstanding Service Provider in MN Region 5

  • 2016 Great Energy Challenge Innovator Award

  • 2016 Climate Adaptation Partnership Award

  • 2015 Environmental Initiative Award for Climate & Energy

  • 2013 Minnesota Nonprofit Mission Award for Innovation

  • 2009 Initiative Awards Outstanding Green Venture

  • 2009 Social Entrepreneur's Cup

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2019
Bush Prize 
Winner

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