KYMA - NBC 11 By Roy Dorantes EL CENTRO, Calif. - Imperial Irrigation District signed a long-awaited agreement with Citizens Energy, a non-profit organization. Officials on both sides call it a major step forward. IID Public Affairs Marion J. Champion said, “That will enable us to enhance and develop an e-green program for our low-income customers.” This collaboration will provide solar power energy for the next 23-three years at a reduced price to Imperial County. “This will affect any customer who’s qualified with a program under our residential energy assistance program, or our reap program. So it doesn’t matter if you own or if you rent,” Champion said. They plan to break ground by June of this year. “Several steps have to be completed before the solar field comes into production, including going and getting permitting with the county and also the construction of the solar field,” Champion said. Citizens Energy founder, Joseph Kennedy II, son of late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, praised the collaboration. “What is happening in our country where the poor get poorer and the rich get richer is being fought by exactly this kind of effort. And it is this kind of effort that our country needs so badly right now,” Kennedy said. He wants to strengthen and widen the partnership. “We should work together more closely on ways that we can use the assets that you have and the finances that we have access to, to develop much more of your resources,” Kennedy said. IID officials said nearly 15,000 low-income families will benefit from this project. Kennedy said this is part of their commitment to slowly but surely move away from fossil fuels.