Solar Neighbors

Photo Credit: Rubén Salgado Escudero

The price of being poor in Detroit is this:

  • Low-income households spend three times more for utilities than those with higher income levels.
  • Households with low income spend up to 20 percent of their earnings on energy costs, greatly impacting their ability to cover basic needs like food, shelter, and medical expenses.  
  • These same households disproportionately bear the burden of environmental and climate shifts that create unreliability in energy access and price spikes.

As a frontline organization committed to creating sustainable communities NEWCC’s Solar Neighbors is spearheading an effort to transition homes in three neighborhoods to renewable energy. Our work will create pathways to resiliency through improved climate preparedness, increased energy security, renewed infrastructure, and heightened economic prosperity. Solar Neighbors brings friends and neighbors together to take advantage of significant savings on solar for their homes. Residents of North End Woodward, Hamtramck, Highland Park and surrounding communities have the opportunity to learn about solar, get their questions answered by a trusted and vetted installer, and gain access to solar incentive programs. 

The goal: 1000 households of low-income families equipped with solar solutions by 2025.


October is Solar Awareness Month, National Energy Awareness Month, Black Energy Awareness Month AND Children’s Environmental Health Month. On October 7, 2023, NEWCC and Solar Neighbors hosted our second annual Solar Tour. Participants had opportunities to participate in both in-person and virtual events, including a bus tour to different solar sites throughotu the city. Several solar-themed prizes, including TWO solar generators were awarded to participants. See below for photos from the tour!

Charging Stations

To date, NEWCC has installed four solar-powered, WiFi-equipped charging stations throughout the North End. The wifi at these charging stations is accessed anywhere from 200 to more than 500 times each month. They have become neighborhood gathering spots, cultivating community. NEWCC plans to install several more stations throughout the North End in the coming months, ensuring equitable internet and energy access for the community.

Bike Repair Stations

In Spring and Summer of 2022, NEWCC plans to install at least four bike-repair stations throughout the North End, as a complement to the charging stations. The bike-repair stations will be fully equipped with tools, an air pump, and instructional videos on common bike repairs. Our goal is to make biking more accessible for the community and subsequently reduce reliance on high-emission modes of transportation. At least two additional stations are planned for Highland Park, with hopes of expanding into Hamtramck in 2023.

Our solar panel installations:

  • Cut residents’ energy bills in half
  • Offset 41.5 metric tons of CO2 a year
  • Increased investment and resiliency in marginalized neighborhoods


Air, Wind, Solar: In the Great Lakes region, energy stands out in President Biden’s efforts
Great Lakes Now
March 16, 2021

Nonprofit helps a Detroit neighborhood learn about solar
Yale Climate Connections
December 19, 2022


Check out this video to learn more about our partnership and installations:

NEWCC has partnered The Honnold Foundation and with solar panel manufacturer REC Group, to install best-in-class solar arrays on 10 land trust homes.

The sun doesn’t just shine on the rich and famous; the sun shines on us all.

Rev. Joan Ross, NEWCC Exectuive Director

Community Impact

500+ Households Wired

Providing Internet access in the North End, Highland Park, and Hamtramck

3,000 Served

Monthly providing emergency food and services to families in 48202, 48203 & 48211

41.5+ metric tons of carbon offset

Our solar power work is offsetting impact on our environment each year

300,000+ Listeners

Potential radio audience listeners on air and online

Young girl holding flower toy that lights up