Last week New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Solarize NYC as part of OneNYC’s 80x50 campaign to reduce the city’s emissions by 80 percent by 2050. The new Solarize NYC program will help expand access to lower-cost solar power by using group purchasing to reduce the cost of solar power equipment and installation costs by 10 to 20 percent—higher savings are achieved as more people participate.
“Because Solarize NYC is built on the very successful Solarize collective purchasing model, it will likely cut solar costs for participants and their neighbors by a full 10 to 20 percent, just as other Solarize programs around the country have since the first program got its start, in 2009,” explained Natural Resources Defense Council’s Director, Northeast Energy & Sustainable Communities, Energy & Transportation program Donna de Costanzo. Solarize programs make these cost reductions possible by bringing people, businesses, and community institutions together to procure solar as a group.
"New York City is moving toward renewable, clean energy and away from fossil fuels, and making solar more accessible is a key piece of that puzzle," de Blasio said. "We've focused on cutting red tape and leading by example, and solar installations have already tripled since the beginning of this administration. Now, Solarize NYC means more and more New Yorkers across the city will have access to lower-cost solar—and can help us achieve our OneNYC goals of 80x50 and more.”
Already the amount of solar power in the city has tripled since 2014 when the city had 24 megawatts of solar power. Now, between public and private installations the city said it has nearly 75 megawatts of solar power. The majority of that, 65 megawatts, is from private solar installations.
The higher penetration of solar power puts the city on the way to install 350 megawatts of solar power by 2025. Of that 100 megawatts will be on public buildings and 250 megawatts will be be on private buildings.
The city still has a long way to go, though. “With renewable energy making up less than 2% of the city's electricity, we have to look outside the box for solutions," said Nilda Mesa, Director of the New York City Mayor's Office of Sustainability. "New York has always been a city of neighborhoods, now they have something else that can bring them together as the more who sign up the cheaper the price. This approach has the potential to fast-track solar adoption in New York city in the years to come, so we can reach our 80x50 goal."
The new Solarize NYC campaign also will help those communities with limited access to clean energy have greater access to it, according to the city. “The NYC Solar Partnership will work alongside selected communities to design a Solarize NYC campaign that will include: 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 their community. Communities that are interested in applying can submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) at Solarize NYC,” it said.
The city explained that the Solarize program will be ongoing. The NYC Solar Partnership will partner with multiple community in communities annually to offer residents a solarize discount. ”The innovative program uses a flexible definition of "community" in order to best meet needs and interest. Applicants will have the opportunity to self-define their "community," whether the boundaries are geographic, such as a block or neighborhood; an affinity group, such as a Business Improvement District, a labor union, or a house of worship; or otherwise,” it explained. Based on the community the NYC Solar Partnership will help the community design the campaign and choose solar installers for the program.Tweet