Con Edison has begun installing solar panels across New York City Housing Authority developments with a program that creates jobs for residents and saves them money on energy bills.
Twelve newly trained solar installers are placing the panels on roofs at Glenwood Houses in the Flatlands area of Brooklyn. From there, they’ll move to Kingsborough Houses in Crown Heights. They already completed installation work at Carver Houses in northern Manhattan.
The solar arrays at the three developments will be capable of generating about one million watts of electricity.
At least 400 low- and moderate-income Con Edison customers will benefit from this power, saving about $120 a year each on their electric bills. Lease revenue from use of the roof space will go to the host NYCHA developments.
“We are determined to build an inclusive clean energy future with opportunities for all,” said Tim Cawley, the president and chief executive of Con Edison.
“Our Community Power program is giving apprentice installers the chance to develop a marketable skill in a growing field, while providing low- and moderate-income customers with access to clean energy and savings on their utility bills. Our customers across New York City and Westchester County are showing they want access to solar energy and we want everyone to be included.”
Con Edison is working on the project with NYCHA and lead partner, Solar One, which provides training and education to make sustainable energy and green jobs more accessible for all New Yorkers.
“Community Power shows how public, utility, and community partnerships can develop successful renewable energy projects that provide good jobs and utility bill savings to those who need it most,” said Juan Parra, director of Community Solar for Solar One. “This model can be replicated with other public rooftops in NYC and beyond. It’s the Green New Deal in action.”
WE ACT for Environmental Justice and the Brooklyn Movement Center are recruiting and screening prospective subscribers for the project. That outreach focuses on residents of affordable housing and those receiving benefits
Green City Force, WE ACT, and NYCHA recruited applicants for the apprenticeships. The apprentices work for Accord Power, a Queens-based solar installer and certified Minority Business Enterprise. The project is financed by Sunwealth. The New York City Community Energy Co-op will manage customer subscriptions.
Tonya Gayle, executive director of City Green Force, said the project diversifies NYC’s green workforce and will help achieve the city’s climate goals.
Sustainable CUNY provided technical assistance, using its New York Solar Map (nysolarmap.com) to assess the solar potential of NYCHA’s rooftops.
Con Edison customers have completed more than 36,000 rooftop projects with the capacity to produce more than 331 megawatts. Even in 2020 – a year of unprecedented health, economic and logistical challenges – Con Edison customers continued embracing solar energy, adding 5,542 arrays that can produce up to 44 megawatts.
Through its Clean Energy Businesses, Con Edison Inc. is the second largest solar producer in North America and seventh largest in the world.
Photo top: Workers installing solar panels at Carver Houses, a New York City Housing Authority development in northern Manhattan. Photo credit: Accord Power Inc.