WALKER-A critical community hub will harvest savings from a solar energy system through a partnership among the Walker Area Community Center, the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance, Region Five Development Commission and Minnesota Power.

The collaborative project resulted in the installation of a 30-kilowatt solar electric system that will provide a long-term source of low-cost energy and immediate savings to the Walker Area Community Center, a news release stated.

"A community center is the heartbeat of a rural community, and the Walker Area Community Center is no different," the release stated. "After the installation of the grid-tied system, the center is more resilient to the upward cost of energy. Providing more than 30,000 kWh of clean energy per year and costing the center nothing, it'll help ensure the Walker Area Community Center can provide opportunities for years to come."

"What's the cost of energy going to be in 10 or 20 years?" asked RREAL's Director Jason Edens in a news release. "Investments in clean energy help us lock in a portion of our energy costs at a fixed rate. Clean energy can actually help community facilities direct more of their scarce resources to their programs and clients. The Walker Area Community Center won't have to buy nearly as much electricity now and can redirect those resources to programs and the community."

A private nonprofit corporation, RREAL makes solar energy accessible to communities of all income levels. The Walker Area Community Center provides civic, cultural, educational and recreational opportunities to the Leech Lake area and surrounding communities.