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.
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.
The solar arrays at the three developments will be capable of generating about 1 megawatt – that’s 1 million watts – 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 determined to build an inclusive clean energy future with opportunities for all,” said Tim Cawley, chief executive officer 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.”
“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, vice president 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.”
Con Edison customers are invited to confirm their eligibility and sign up to learn more at communitypower.nyc.
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 percent less than the full dollar value of the solar energy credits they receive.
Participating households will save money for the life of the solar panels – which is expected to be about 25 years.
Sustainable CUNY provided technical assistance, using its New York Solar Map (nysolarmap.com) 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.”
Con Edison encourages its customers to consider solar energy and is making the installation process faster, easier, and less expensive.
The company recently began offering solar installers and their customers a device called Smart ConnectDER, which allows a customer to avoid the cost of upgrading the home’s circuit breaker panel and excessive electrical boxes on the side of the house.
The device can save a solar customer upwards of $1,000 and is available following a successful pilot program in 2019. Customers or installers who are interested can send an e-mail to ConnectDer@coned.com.
Con Edison customers have completed more than 36,000 rooftop projects with the capacity to produce more than 331 megawatts. Even in 2020 – a year of unprecedented health, economic and logistical challenges – Con Edison customers continued embracing solar energy, adding 5,542 arrays that can produce up to 44 megawatts.
Through its Clean Energy Businesses, Con Edison Inc. is the second largest solar producer in North America and seventh largest in the world. Adding more solar to the region’s energy mix is part of Con Edison’s Clean Energy Commitment.
Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $12 billion in annual revenues and $63 billion in assets. The utility delivers electricity, natural gas and steam to 3.5 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, N.Y.