A 1.2 MW solar energy project across 40 New York City Housing Authority rooftops has been named as the national winner of a U.S. Department of Energy program to make solar power affordable to renters in public housing.
The project was developed by Solar One in collaboration with WE ACT for Environmental Justice, the Brooklyn Movement Center and Con Edison. It was one of 10 finalists in the DOE’s Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar, presented on Jan. 25 at the National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP) Annual Summit in San Diego.
This year’s summit theme, “Community Solar’s Time to Shine,” reflects how recent renewable energy innovations and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passage have unlocked new potential for community solar in the United States.
The New York City project, completed in 2021, was developed at three New York City Housing Authority developments — the George Washington Carver Houses in Spanish Harlem; Kingsborough Houses in Crown Heights, Brooklyn; and Glenwood Houses in the Flatlands section of Brooklyn. The initiative delivers direct energy savings to 500 low-to-moderate income (LMI) households through a 20% discount on solar credits, saving each person about $120 per year.
Community solar, which allows multiple customers to benefit from a shared solar energy system, provides a solution for individuals who cannot get rooftop solar panels. The DOE’s nationwide community solar target is to provide savings and power for 5 million homes by 2023.
“Community solar is valuable for low-income families because they spend a disproportionate amount of their household income on energy costs,” said Noah Ginsburg, director of Solar One’s Here Comes Solar program that ensures low-income New Yorkers have access to and benefit from solar power.
Gretchen Bradley, Solar One’s senior community solar program manager, also attended the conference and shared the organization’s success story during a forum on equity-focused community solar projects and their benefits to subscribers and communities. At the meeting, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the creation of the Community Power Accelerator, an initiative to foster new community-driven solar project development throughout the country with grant funding and support from technical assistance providers, including Solar One.
Solar One is an environmental nonprofit working to expand access to clean energy in the New York CIty region.