NYCHA EXPANDS SOLAR ACCESS AND GREEN JOBS THROUGH FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND COMMUNITY SOLAR GARDENS PROGRAM FOR SMALL BUILDINGS
ACCESSolar program targets non-profits and small businesses in NYCHA communities.
New York – Today, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) announced the launch of an innovative new program to provide lower-cost clean energy to low and moderate-income customers and green job opportunities for NYCHA residents. The ACCESSolar (ACcelerating Community Empowered Shared Solar) program will begin accepting applications today from teams of community-based organizations and small solar developers to install community solar gardens on the rooftops of NYCHA buildings.
“NYCHA has a long history of using our scale and capital programs to provide job opportunities in NYCHA communities,” said Deborah Goddard, Executive Vice President for Capital Projects. “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.”
ACCESSolar was created to ensure that small businesses and non-profit organizations in NYCHA communities can directly benefit from the Authority’s ambitious solar commitment of installing 25 megawatts of renewable energy capacity on its properties by 2025, the largest goal for a multi-family housing owner in the United States. The current list of sites available for ACCESSolar comprises 325 rooftops across 65 NYCHA developments. These rooftops generally have 40 kilowatts or less of solar capacity each — the right size for a small business or non-profit project. The list of sites is available on the NYC Open Data Portal. Applications are open and will be accepted through July 2, 2018.
NYCHA will select up to five pilot teams in this first phase of the program to develop solar photovoltaic installations. These installations will be community solar gardens (also known as community shared solar), meaning that the electricity generated will belong to the project’s subscribers. While the service will be available to anyone within the electrical service area where the community shared garden is installed, NYCHA is requiring that a portion of these subscribers be low income New Yorkers, including NYCHA residents and NYCHA Section 8 voucher holders who pay their own electric bills. The subscribers receive a credit on their electric bill, as if the solar panels were on their own roofs.
Non-profit community-based organizations and small businesses in NYCHA communities who apply to participate in ACCESSolar must affirm their intent to employ NYCHA residents. Community organizations and small solar developers, especially women or minority-owned businesses, interested in finding partners for ACCESSolar applications can register on CUNY’s Shared Solar Gateway starting April 23.
ACCESSolar is supported by the Fund for Public Housing, Sustainable CUNY of the City University of New York, and the consulting firm ICF. The Fund for Public Housing, a non-profit organization founded to invest in the well-being of NYCHA residents and their communities, provides visibility for organizations seeking start-up funding through its Ideas Marketplace crowdfunding platform. Sustainable CUNY and ICF will provide technical assistance to NYCHA.
“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, University Director of Sustainability and Energy Conservation. “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.”
“The Fund for Public Housing facilitates innovation in NYCHA wherever possible, and we are excited to be part of the team pushing the switch to renewable energy in NYCHA communities through ACCESSolar,” said Rasmia Kirmani-Frye, President of the Fund for Public Housing.
ACCESSolar advances the goals outlined in the NextGeneration NYCHA Sustainability Agenda, which details the Authority’s 10-year commitment to improve resident well-being and operate as an effective and efficient landlord. Since the release of the agenda in April 2016, NYCHA has been working with government and private sector partners to provide better service for residents, improve energy efficiency, and curb the effects of climate change. In addition to ACCESSolar, NYCHA launched its Commercial Solar Program, Energy Performance Contracts (EPCs), and other energy programs.
To learn more about ACCESSolar, visit its webpage.
About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA): NYCHA’s mission is to increase opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. Almost 400,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA’s 325 public housing developments around the five boroughs, and another 235,000 receive subsidized rental assistance in private homes through the NYCHA-administered Section 8 Leased Housing Program. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/nycha and for regular updates on NYCHA news and services, connect with us via www.facebook.com/NYCHA and www.twitter.com/NYCHA.