Low-income residents and their housing providers in New York City now have a new opportunity to go solar thanks to Affordable Solar New York. The nonprofit will focus on reducing low-income residents’ energy bills with rooftop and distributed solar options. Solar had been harder to access for these tenants for numerous reasons, including lack of financing options due to lower credit scores, the up-front costs of solar and the complex financing arrangements needed, particularly to install solar power on multi-residential dwellings.
“To reach Mayor de Blasio’s landmark OneNYC vision for a more sustainable, equitable, and resilient New York City, all New Yorkers will need the ability to tap into the cost and energy saving benefits that solar energy can provide,” said Mark Chambers, director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. Chambers called launching the new organization an important step toward a more inclusive energy landscape in New York City.
The laugh comes shortly after Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced new funding for low-income solar projects recently. Under that $3.6 million of funding Cuomo that he wants to provide 40 percent of households with incomes lower than 80 percent of the median in their area with affordable solar power.
The new nonprofit initiative will provide assistance, reduced-cost solar installations and zero-down financing options to Housing Development Fund Corporation cooperatives and other affordable housing providers in New York City. The organization also will include energy efficiency education opportunities for residents as well as job training. The organization’s founders Solar One, GRID Alternatives Tri-State and Co-op Power will provide the no-cost technical and practical assistance needed.
The organization’s first project is with Nazareth Housing, a housing organization on the Lower East Side that promotes housing stability and economic independence. The project will provide more than 80 percent of the electricity for the building’s common area and save it 30 percent on its overall electricity costs over the system’s 25-year life.
“For nearly 35 years, Nazareth Housing has creatively endeavored to develop sustainable, affordable housing in the Lower East Side and the Bronx,” said Michael Callaghan, Executive Director of Nazareth Housing. “I am truly pleased that our building will be the inaugural solar project of Affordable Solar New York. Being in a flood zone that was significantly impacted by superstorm Sandy, solar capacity brings environmental and fiscal benefits, while also helping us build resiliency for the future.”
Co-op Power is providing financing and technical assistance for developing the project is coming from Solar One and GRID Alternatives. GRID Alternatives is installing the project in early 2017 using its workforce development model.
As the organization grows in 2017 Affordable Solar New York and its partners hope to install solar on a number of multifamily residences. It also wants to facilitate dozens more through technical assistance.
The new nonprofit is supported by JPB Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The 11th Hour Project, The Schmidt Family Foundation, Rosin Fund of The Scherman Foundation, and The Mertz Gilmore Foundation.Tweet