Low-Cost, Clean Energy and Jobs for Residents in the Booming Solar Industry
NYCHA has launched its first large-scale solar program, which will use light and heat from the sun to provide clean, low-cost energy to low- to moderate-income New Yorkers, including public housing residents. The program will also create jobs for NYCHA residents in the growing solar industry.
NYCHA is looking for developers to install solar power on rooftops and parking lots at 14 developments, which will provide energy for 500 to 1,600 households. The developments are located throughout the five boroughs: Queensbridge North, Queensbridge South, Taylor Street-Wythe Avenue, Pomonok, Beach 41st Street-Beach Channel Drive, Carleton Manor, Coney Island Site 1B, Throggs Neck Addition, New Lane Area, South Beach, Taft, Polo Grounds Towers, Wyckoff Gardens, and Gowanus.
Developers will be chosen in 2018 and the first solar installations will be made by 2019. NYCHA will lease the sites for up to 25 years; developer(s) will install, operate, and maintain the solar systems and sell the power to low- to moderate-income residents citywide. By 2025, NYCHA plans to install solar at 190 developments, which will provide power to up to 6,600 households.
Since the release of its Sustainability Agenda last year, NYCHA has been working with partners to provide better service for residents, reduce energy and costs, and curb the effects of climate change. NYCHA’s solar program will play a major role in helping meet the city’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.
“I’m glad this solar program is finally happening at NYCHA buildings and that the city is progressing and moving towards renewable energy,” said Miguel Rodriguez, a Lillian Wald Houses resident who has worked in the solar industry through NYCHA’s Green City Force partnership.
After graduating high school, Mr. Rodriguez enrolled in a computer science program but found he couldn’t successfully manage working 30 hours a week to help support his family while also attending college full time. He spent several months unemployed then enrolled in Henry Street Settlement’s Employment Coordination Program where he learned about Green City Force (GCF), which provides young people ages 18-24 with training, education, and leadership opportunities in preparation for careers in the energy economy. After graduating the GCF Clean Energy Corps program, he landed an internship with GRID Alternatives, a nonprofit solar electric installer, and then took a job as a solar installer.
“This is going to make a huge difference within our communities,” Mr. Rodriguez said.