April 19, 2017
Citywide solar capacity surpasses 100 megawatts, supporting more than 2,700 jobs
Solarize NYC set to expand solar power in Harlem and Downtown Brooklyn
NEW YORK – In advance of Earth Day on April 22, Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that solar capacity continues to expand citywide, bringing better access to clean affordable energy and well-paying green jobs. Since the start of his Administration, solar power has more than quadrupled, providing nearly 105 megawatts of electricity and directly supporting over 2,700 jobs across the five boroughs. And based on what’s in the installation queue, the City is on track to reach more than 140 MW of solar capacity this year.
The City's municipal solar portfolio alone is set to triple in size to nearly 25 MW with a new power purchase agreement to provide 88 sites, including 66 New York City schools, with solar panels, bringing the total to over 100 solar schools operating with solar power by 2019. The New York City School Construction Authority (SCA), Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) and Department of Education (DOE) will partner to install solar on all future new school construction projects and roof renovations where practical.
“We have been aggressively expanding New York’s solar capacity so we can deliver on our goals of creating a more sustainable, resilient and just city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “By making solar more accessible and affordable, we are combatting climate change and reducing the burden of air pollution. New York is now leading by example, rapidly deploying solar installations on city buildings, putting us on track to hit even more ambitious goals. With the launch of the first two Solarize NYC campaigns this week, more and more New Yorkers across the city will have access to lower-cost solar.”
To further support the City’s goal of installing 1 gigawatt of solar capacity citywide by 2030 – enough to power 250,000 homes - the City is launching the first round of Solarize NYC campaigns this week in Harlem and Downtown Brooklyn. Solarize NYC is a citywide program designed to further increase access to solar through community group purchasing campaigns. This launch builds upon the success of the 2015 NYSolar Smart Solarize Brooklyn CB6 pilot program led by Sustainable CUNY, through which 26 contracts were signed for a total of 141 kilowatts of solar power. Overall, the program is expected to lower costs by 10 to 20 percent and increase solar capacity in communities that have historically had limited access to clean energy. Applications for communities to host Round 2 Solarize NYC campaigns are now being accepted at solarizenyc.com.
And, earlier this year the City successfully petitioned the New York State Public Service Commission to make shared solar more accessible by now only requiring two parties to constitute a community shared solar project, instead of ten. This relaxation of the rules paves the way for small multifamily buildings—even those where renters live—to implement shared solar installations and thereby unlocks solar for more of New York City’s rooftops than ever before.
Programs like Solarize NYC and related efforts to expand solar on public and private buildings are part of Mayor de Blasio's sweeping commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 and a core component of New York City's OneNYC goal of being the most sustainable big city in world and a global leader in the fight against climate change.
The City’s renewable energy goals are an important step in fostering a dynamic and inclusive economy, and to develop an industry with a significant potential for new jobs. In fact, New York City was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy as a SolSmart Gold community, the highest designation a community can receive for the actions it take to reduce barriers in the solar marketplace.
“Almost three years ago, New York City became the largest city on the planet to commit to meeting an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. And every day, we are pushing forward with the investments that will be necessary to meet this aggressive target,” said Daniel Zarrilli, NYC's Senior Director for Climate Policy & Programs and Chief Resilience Officer. “Today, we are excited to announce that solar capacity in New York City has more than quadrupled since 2013, with much more on the way. And we are excited to expand community solar access through Solarize NYC, ensuring greater access to new and affordable energy solutions. Together, we are building a more sustainable, more resilient, and more equitable city.”
“We are well on the way to growing our solar capacity on schools, hospitals and other municipal buildings to 25MW by 2019. The scaling up of solar energy supports economic development and an improved quality of life for all New Yorkers, while also building a sustainable energy infrastructure” said Lisette Camilo, the Commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services. “We are forging the path for more renewable energy development across New York City, and DCAS is proud to show government leadership in transitioning to a clean energy future.”
Solar energy in NYC is about more than just cheaper and cleaner electricity, it's a powerful emblem that illustrates our City’s commitment to transition into a green economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050," said Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. "The progress we’ve made in deploying solar to city owned buildings, and showing that we are on track for nearly 25 megawatts by 2019, in addition to working with our partners to launch the Solarize NYC campaigns this week, means we can further scale up on-site renewable energy investments in communities across the five boroughs."
"The City University of New York is proud to support Mayor De Blasio’s solar goals and join with our partners to implement Solarize NYC," said Tria Case, University Director of Sustainability and Energy Conservation, lead for the NYC Solar Partnership. "The Mayor’s vision to invest in efforts like Solarize WeACT and Solarize District 2030 will ensure that NYC leads the nation in renewable energy equity."
“Solarize NYC is a clear win-win for New Yorkers,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “In making clean energy more accessible and affordable, we’re creating good jobs and supporting an emerging sector of our economy. I am proud of the progress this Administration has made as it continues to deliver on creating a more sustainable and equitable city.”
"From the air we breathe to the homes we live in, climate change and fossil fuels have a disproportionate impact on communities of color in New York City. WE ACT is honored to take part in Solarize NYC and to help everyday New Yorkers access clean, affordable, and sustainable energy sources. WE ACT especially wants to thank Mayor de Blasio and his office for this exciting opportunity—OneNYC is possible when programs like Solarize NYC create opportunities for solar in the homes of low and moderate income families," said Peggy Shepard of WE ACT for Environmental Justice.
"The NYC 2030 District Committee, dedicated to dramatic Greenhouse Gas reductions to meet NYC's 80X50 commitment, is thrilled to be designated as one of the first Solarize NYC Campaigns. We wish to thank Mayor de Blasio and staff for this opportunity, Brooklyn Borough President Adams, Council Member Levin, Community Board 2 and their staffs for their continuing support of NYC 2030 District in Community District 2, Brooklyn." said Haym Gross, Founding Member, NYC 2030 District Committee.
"This Earth Day, we must show our leadership on environmental protection and combating climate change. When the Trump Administration callously devalues the importance of protecting our planet, it's up to cities to serve as role models on sustainability. Increasing our use of solar energy will help reduce pollution and benefit our air quality. I am proud that we have more than quadrupled solar power in our city since 2014 and that this increase has supported over 2,700 jobs across our city. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio for his bold leadership on this environmental issue," said Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Council's Environmental Protection Committee.
“I applaud Mayor de Blasio for continuing to build on OneNYC’s vital greenhouse gas reduction, renewable energy and sustainability goals,” said Senator Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn), Ranking Democrat and longest serving Member of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee. “It is crucial that our City maintain its leadership role in promoting solar and other renewable energy, and in removing diesel and gasoline powered vehicles from the City’s fleet,” continued the Senator. “That is why, in addition to my own legislative work in this area, I support the Mayor in these vitally important policies that will create more green collar jobs and fight the asthma epidemic and other respiratory ailments caused in our community by idling diesel vehicles and smog.”
“Clearly, now more than ever, we must do all we can to protect our environment from the consequences of climate change. By expanding the City’s solar power capacity we are both helping the environment, and producing more clean and affordable energy. It is particularly exciting to know that plans are in place to utilize solar power in all new schools, which will add to the 66 existing public schools that already use this form of energy,” said State Senator Jose Peralta (D-Queens)
“I would like to applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio and his efforts to expand renewable energy initiatives. Expanding the Cities fleet of electric vehicles, utilizing solar power on new and existing public schools, and other programs that increase the production of clean energy reinforces New York City as a leader in an expanding green economy. I look forward to partnering with this administration on the state level as the chairwoman of the subcommittee on renewable energy to increase our footprint in the green economy,” said Assembly Member Latrice Walker.
“The huge growth in solar panel installations on New York City’s public and private buildings is an extraordinary example of long-term local leadership on climate action making a real difference in reducing carbon pollution,” said Donna De Costanzo, Director of Northeast Energy and Sustainable Communities at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The initiatives announced today will further accelerate New York City’s solar and climate progress, providing critical clean air, job, and electricity system benefits for all New Yorkers.”
"Access to solar energy is no longer a novelty for the few but a necessity for all if we are to achieve our renewable energy goals. Solarize NYC will help us dramatically increase the amount of solar installed in the five boroughs. By supporting communities like Harlem and Downtown Brooklyn in purchasing solar, the program will allow thousands of residents and businesses to do so seamlessly and at a lower cost," said Marcia Bystryn, President of New York League of Conservation Voters. "We applaud Mayor de Blasio for following through on his commitment to expand access to clean, reliable, and affordable solar power for all New Yorkers."
“Mayor de Blasio’s expansion of solar installations to schools shows valuable foresight and planning.” said Rory Christian, Director, New York Clean Energy at Environmental Defense Fund. “The move will enhance New York City’s energy efficiency, performance, and resiliency, not only for everyday use, but for crisis situations, like the blackouts we experienced during Hurricane Sandy, when schools became centers of refuge for communities.”
“New York City is continuing to lead the country in building a cleaner, resilient and more equitable energy system with solar,” said Adam Browning, Executive Director at Vote Solar. “We applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vision and commitment to bringing the benefits of clean energy to all five boroughs and all of the city's residents. This Earth Day, we’re reminded that it’s more important than ever that local and state leaders and advocates continue to invest in their communities and ensure that everyone has access to the health benefits and economic opportunities that accompany solar progress.”
About Solarize NYC
The Solarize neighborhood campaigns will be managed by WEACT in Harlem, and NYC 2030 District in Downtown Brooklyn. These nonprofit organizations were selected by the NYC Solar Partnership and will work alongside Sustainable CUNY to design neighborhood-specific campaigns that provide technical assistance from solar ombudsmen; funding support for marketing materials and staff time; and marketing and outreach plans that are tailored to the needs of each community. Applications for Round 2 campaigns are currently being accepted.
About NYC Solar Partnership
Led by Sustainable CUNY of the City University of New York, the NYC Solar Partnership was formed in 2006 with partner organizations the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. With policy and funding support from the City, the NYC Solar Partnership works to expand access to clean, reliable, and affordable solar energy for all New Yorkers and promote a robust marketplace for solar energy in New York City.