AICHO Solar Array

A 12 kilowatt system installed on the American Indian Community Housing Organization’s (AICHO) Gimaajii building for supportive housing would provide many opportunities for the low-income community that lives there, including energy savings for the building and educational opportunities about solar power and renewable energy for all ages. The Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) and Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light (MNIPL), and AICHO are working together to fully fund this impactful installation.

MNIPL’s Arrowhead Regional Network and Just Solar Coalition are helping to raise funds for this project. All donations received through this page qualify as tax-deductible and will go directly to funding the AICHO Solar Array.


AICHO, a Duluth nonprofit, was established in 1993 to serve survivors of domestic violence and those who have experienced homelessness and poverty. The organization operates a domestic violence shelter, a transitional housing program, a supportive housing program, a mobile homeless support network, and an Urban Indian Center in Duluth. Honoring the resiliency of Native American people, AICHO strives to strengthen the community by centering indigenous values in all aspects of their work. AICHO’s operating philosophy is that every American Indian woman and child deserves to live in a safe, non-threatening environment and should be treated with dignity and respect.

Proposed Site

Gimaajii-Mino-Bimaadizimin “Together we are beginning a new life”                  

Supportive Housing and Urban Indian Center

The Gimaajii building and program is one of the first in the nation to offer permanent supportive housing and an American Indian Center under the same roof. It is also the first full-scale American Indian Center owned by a Native organization in Duluth.


The building includes 29 units of permanent supportive housing for families—four efficiency, five 1-bedroom, eleven 2-bedroom, and nine 3-bedroom homes. The units target individuals and families who are homeless or precariously housed and are at or below 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI). The Urban Indian Center provides supportive services for families, including case management, job training, domestic violence support groups, mental health services, and access to medical advocacy. Other opportunities in the space include 13 office and community meeting spaces, an art gallery, a gymnasium, art galleries, and a rooftop garden. Throughout the year, the building hosts numerous events ranging from art galleries, music concerts, open mic nights, youth variety shows, spoken word, and poetry performances by people of all ages.

Partners of Gimaajii include the Fon du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, White Earth Nation, University of Minnesota-Duluth Research for Indigineous Community Health, and Mending the Sacred Hoop.

Opportunity for Low-Income Community

The proposed installation would provide 12 kilowatts of solar power on top of the Gimaajii building and cost about $48,000. Providing solar on one of AICHO’s largest buildings would also allow for a reduction in the hefty energy bill the organization has to pay each month. This array would provide about 15,067 kWh per yearfor the Gimaajii building, which would allow additional funds to be put into other the many other programs the organization offers for the low-income and homeless Native population in Duluth.

joelroofThe proposed location of the array offers a unique space for educational outreach because it would be located next to an existing community space and garden on the roof. This location would provide even more hands-on learning opportunities about the environment and renewable energy, and the space would be open to the greater community. The garden space on the roof is already used to provide food for the residents at Gimaajii and as an educational opportunity for youth to learn about and plant traditional food, medicines, and health systems. Facing South from the garden, there is a view of wind turbines on the St. Louis County Government Service Center building that allows a visual opportunity to learn about wind energy. Adding solar next to the garden area would allow for more engagement in solar energy as another source of renewable energy.

The rooftop solar installation would be on is slated to be replaced this summer, offering an optimal solar construction opportunity. This roof space is also visible from the street, so people walking or driving by in Duluth would be able to see the installation as well.

Support the AICHO Solar Array!

MNIPL’s Arrowhead Regional Network and Just Solar Coalition are helping to raise funds for this project. All donations received through this page qualify as tax-deductible and will go directly to funding the AICHO Solar Array.

Click here to make a donation to support this important project!