With new ACCESSolar program, NYCHA has solar gardens on the horizon

The new program is part of the Housing Authority's goal to install 25 megawatts of renewable energy capacity on its properties by 2025.
NYCHA is seeking applications from community-based organizations and small solar developers to install community solar gardens on 325 rooftops at 65 developments.
NYCHA is seeking applications from community-based organizations and small solar developers to install community solar gardens on 325 rooftops at 65 developments. (iStock)

NYCHA took one step closer to its goal of installing 25 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2025 by launching a new program aimed to provide lower-cost clean energy to its residents on Friday.

 

ACCESSSolar, or Accelerating Community Empowered Shared Solar, started accepting applications Friday from community-based organizations and small solar developers to install community solar gardens on 325 rooftops at 65 NYCHA developments. Applications will be accepted through July 2.

“NYCHA has a long history of using our scale and capital programs to provide job opportunities in NYCHA communities,” Deborah Goddard, executive vice president for Capital Projects, said. “By unlocking the solar development potential of NYCHA’s small buildings, ACCESSolar provides an unprecedented growth opportunity to small solar businesses, which we hope will result in career-path green jobs for NYCHA residents.”

Up to five pilot teams will be selected in the first phase of ACCESSolar, which is part of the NextGeneration NYCHA Sustainability Agenda, to develop the installation of the community solar gardens in which the electricity generated will belong to subscribers.

Though the solar energy will be available to anyone within the service area, NYCHA requires a portion of subscribers be low-income residents and NYCHA Section 8 voucher holders who pay for their own electricity. Subscribers will receive a credit on their electric bill.

Small businesses and non-profit community-based organizations that apply for the ACCESSolar program are also required to affirm their intent to employ NYCHA residents. Starting on Monday, community organizations and small solar developers, especially those owned by women or minorities, that are interested in finding application partners can register via CUNY’s Shared Solar Gateway.

“The City University of New York has a distinguished history of responding to the diverse needs of the urban neighborhoods where we live, work and study,” said Tria Case, director of sustainability and energy conservation at CUNY, which is an ACCESSolar support along with the Fund for Public Housing and consulting firm ICF. “Sustainable CUNY and our solar ombudsmen are proud to have worked with NYCHA to develop this first-of-its-kind program that provides a new framework for bringing the benefits of solar to New York City’s underserved communities.”
 

 
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