Today officials from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration and other state and local officials and community members gathered at an event celebrating a new Shared Renewables program that will empower millions of New Yorkers to plug into renewable energy for the first time.
At the event, two New York City-based organizations, UPROSE and Solar One, also announced plans for a Shared Renewables project in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park that will help local low-income families go solar and save on their utility bills.
“Since we are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, it is imperative that we are at the forefront of change, driving a just transition to a new energy system that benefits the most vulnerable first,” says Elizabeth Yeampierre, Director of UPROSE. “Our shared solar pilot project will specifically serve low-income renters with lower-cost, stable electricity. This project will provide necessary relief to Sunset Park families who are struggling to keep up with their electricity bills.”
“Many of the families who have the most to benefit from low-cost solar energy have historically faced barriers like not owning their home or being able to afford a loan; that's why shared solar is such a transformative concept. Our Here Comes Solar initiative is working with community partners across the five boroughs to develop shared solar projects that empower a more diverse spectrum of New Yorkers to participate in the solar revolution.” said Elana Laichena, Program Manager for Here Comes Solar, a project of Solar One.
Also announced at the event, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will dedicate $13 million in 2015 to improve access to affordable solar in low- and moderate-income communities. This support will be comprised of incentives and financing for both rooftop solar and shared renewables projects across New York State.
Speakers included: Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance for New York in the Cuomo Administration; Audrey Zibelman, New York State Public Service Commission Chair; John Rhodes, President and CEO of NYSERDA, NYS Senator Kevin Parker, and NYS Assemblywoman Amy Paulin.
“Record numbers of New Yorkers are harnessing sunshine to save on their energy bills, which is creating local jobs and reducing the need for traditional polluting power. This new program will empower even more communities, families and businesses to participate in that great solar success story,” said Sean Garren, Northeast Regional Manager for Vote Solar, a national solar advocacy organization. “We thank Governor Cuomo, his administration and the PSC for making equal access to solar a priority and for speeding our transition to a healthier, more resilient clean energy system.”
Under Governor Cuomo, New York State now ranks among the nation’s solar leaders, yet a majority of the state’s energy consumers – including renters, families and businesses in multi-unit buildings, and property owners with shaded roofs – have been unable to invest in their own rooftop solar energy systems. Low-income consumers who lack access to financing face additional barriers to solar participation. With leadership from the Cuomo Administration via Reforming the Energy Vision or REV, the New York PSC recently issued a final order establishing a new Shared Renewables program that will expand consumer access to local solar, wind and other clean energy resources, particularly among low- and moderate-income New Yorkers.
Shared Renewables builds on New York’s successful clean energy policies including the historic NY-Sun and Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiatives. Earlier this month, Governor Cuomo announced that the state’s solar capacity quadrupled between 2011 and 2014. Today there are more than 456 megawatts of solar installed in New York, enough to power over 77,000 homes. The state’s growing solar economy employs 7,300 New Yorkers according to The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census.
Learn more about Shared Renewables policies nationwide at: http://www.sharedrenewables.org/
New York Shared Renewables has support from more than 70 organizations acting together to expand access to clean energy. For the full list visit: http://votesolar.org/about-us/press/ny-finalizes-major-initiative-to-expand-solar-access/
About UPROSE: Incorporated in 1966, UPROSE is Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community based organization. Today, UPROSE is an intergenerational, multi-racial, nationally-recognized community organization that promotes the sustainability and resiliency of the Sunset Park community in Brooklyn through community organizing, education, leadership development and cultural/artistic expression. Learn more at uprose.org.
About Here Comes Solar: A project of Solar One, Here Comes Solar works to overcome obstacles so that the benefits of solar technology can be enjoyed by a wider and more diverse spectrum of New Yorkers. The initiative works with communities who have been underserved by the solar market, with a focus on owner-occupied rowhouses, low-income affordable housing, coops and condos, as well as shared solar for renters. Learn more at herecomessolar.nyc.
About Vote Solar: Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to foster economic opportunity, promote energy independence and address climate change by making solar a mainstream energy resource across the United States. Learn more at votesolar.org