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Camp shines light on solar energy for kids

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Campers test a solar-powered boat motor.
From left, Roman Konewko, Maniya Dorsey, Semira Kretz and Shafi Khan test the motor of a solar-powered boat they are constructing as part of Just-B-Solar Camp in north Minneapolis on Aug. 11, 2016.
Elizabeth Dunbar | MPR News

About a dozen kids got an introduction to solar energy in a pilot program held this summer at a church in north Minneapolis where a community solar array will be installed later this year.

  Solar installer Keith Dent came up with the idea for Just-B-Solar Camp while attending a seminar on solar energy. "It was so adult and red tape and policy and money, and I was like, 'No! Solar is fun," he said.

  Dent hopes the camp will expand in the coming years. He said not enough people know where their energy comes from, let alone how the transition away from fossil fuels will affect them. He said kids are a great place to start.

Roman Konewko and Semira Kretz test a motor.
Roman Konewko and Semira Kretz test the motor of a solar-powered boat as part of Just-B-Solar Camp in north Minneapolis on Aug. 11, 2016.
Elizabeth Dunbar | MPR News

  "They are learning about their future and about their now. I want them to be in the know about the changes that are happening and things that they're coming into."

  Dent, who is African-American, said it's also about raising awareness for an energy source that has traditionally not been accessible to low-income people and communities of color in places like north Minneapolis.