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Residents trained to install 1 MW of solar across NYC Housing Authority developments

Written by: Leonard Parker | solar news | March 23, 2021

Twelve newly trained solar installers are placing panels on New York City Housing Authority developments to provide clean power at discounted rates for low- and moderate-income subscribers.

Workers installing solar panels at Carver Houses, a New York City Housing Authority development in northern Manhattan. Accord Power Inc.

These workers, who are NYCHA residents from across the city, are currently atop roofs at Glenwood Houses, a development in the Flatlands area of Brooklyn. From there, they’ll move to Kingsborough Houses in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood. They already completed installation work at Carver Houses in northern Manhattan.

“We are determined to build an inclusive clean energy future with opportunities for all,” said Tim Cawley, CEO of Con Edison. “Our Community Power program is giving apprentice installers the chance to develop a marketable skill in a growing field, while providing low- and moderate-income customers with access to clean energy and savings on their utility bills. Our customers across New York City and Westchester County are showing they want access to solar energy and we want everyone to be included.”

The solar arrays at the three developments will generate 1 MW of electricity. At least 400 low- and moderate-income Con Edison customers will benefit from this power, saving about $120 a year each on their electric bills. Lease revenue from use of the roof space will go to the host NYCHA developments.

“We are proud to facilitate solar teams that connect NYCHA residents to green careers, both in their communities and throughout New York City,” said Vlada Kenniff, VP for Energy & Sustainability for NYCHA. “These partnerships provide our residents with low-cost solar energy and a wider opportunity to participate in the clean energy workforce.”

Con Edison is working on the project with NYCHA and other partners that have proven records of contributing to New York City’s sustainability. The lead partner, Solar One, provides training and education to make sustainable energy and green jobs more accessible for all New Yorkers.

“Community power shows how public, utility and community partnerships can develop successful renewable energy projects that provide good jobs and utility bill savings to those who need it most,” said Juan Parra, director of Community Solar for Solar One. “This model can be replicated with other public rooftops in NYC and beyond. It’s the Green New Deal in action.”

WE ACT for Environmental Justice and the Brooklyn Movement Center are recruiting and screening prospective subscribers for the project. That outreach focuses on residents of affordable housing and those receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Green City Force, WE ACT and NYCHA recruited applicants for the apprenticeships. The apprentices work for Accord Power, a Queens-based solar installer and certified Minority Business Enterprise. The project is financed by Sunwealth. The New York City Community Energy Co-op will manage customer subscriptions.

“Green City Force is excited to be a part of this clean energy project with our partners,” said Tonya Gayle, executive director. “This groundbreaking initiative is providing affordable clean energy to low- and moderate-income residents in Brooklyn and Manhattan and addressing the gap between disenfranchised communities and sustainable careers. This project diversifies NYC’s green workforce and will help achieve the city’s climate goals.”

The customers will receive discounts on their electric bills in return for paying a subscription fee. The customer will always receive a net benefit or savings on their utility bill because the subscription fee will be 20% less than the full dollar value of the solar energy credits they receive.

Sustainable CUNY provided technical assistance, using its New York Solar Map to assess the solar potential of NYCHA’s rooftops.

“The City University of New York is proud to support the implementation of NYCHA’s solar program in our ongoing collaborative effort with Con Edison and city officials to provide clean renewable energy to the New York Metropolitan area and help develop the ‘green-collar’ workforce New York needs now,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “Sustainable CUNY will continue the work of unlocking the potential of NYC’s solar energy market to help boost our beloved city’s post-COVID economy.”

News item from Con Edison

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