Originally founded to manage Stuyvesant Cove Park in 2004, Solar One has quickly grown and now reaches every New York City borough through five programs, each providing New Yorkers of all ages with education on urban sustainability, renewable energy, and living greener. Solar One is also planning to build a new Green Energy, Arts & Education Center, Solar 2. When built, Solar 2 will be a demonstration building showcasing dozens of cutting-edge sustainable technologies like a solar power array, geothermal heating, water recapture, and vertical garden. It will also function as a clean tech community space for demonstration of other New York City clean tech projects, groups, and businesses.

From humble beginnings of one educator and a few solar race cars, the Education program has grown to more than a dozen educators delivering sustainability lessons to more than 50 New York City public schools each year. Our largest program, the Green Design Lab, is a K-12 sustainability curriculum reaching thousands of students each year. Its dynamic project-based lessons cover renewable energy, energy efficiency, water, food, air and materials while also teaching valuable science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills. Our long-running Enrichment Workshops reach hundreds of youth annually through workshops on Estuary Education, Sustainable Design and Renewable Energy. Some workshops include field trips to the Solar 1 facility, nature walks to identify indigenous flora and fauna, and visiting the Oyster Garden in Stuyvesant Cove.

Energy Connections is Solar One’s public education and outreach program. Through the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA), Solar One manages the Energy $mart Communities program for Manhattan and Staten Island, helping building- and home-owners, renters, and businesses make energy efficiency improvements. In 2011, in partnership with Greentech Media and NYC Acre at NYU Poly, Solar One created the Clean Energy Connections panel series, featuring leaders and innovators in energy in lively panels on trends, hot issues, and cutting-edge debates on leading the nation in developing a clean energy economy. Whole Buildings is Solar One’s education and training program to help tenants in low-income building benefit through reducing energy and water use, saving money, recycling, making their homes healthier, and protecting the environment.

The Green Workforce program works with over 20 NYC workforce agencies to provide hard skill green job training through 10 distinct courses like solar panel installation, building analyst, and energy auditing. Several courses prepare participants for nationally-recognized certification exams through BPI and USGBC GPro. Green Workforce program participants are from established workforce agencies and include individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds or coping with institutional barriers to employment. For all courses, 50% of class time is spent in hands-on training in the Workforce Lab.

Solar One’s solar-powered Arts & Events series is one of our original programs, founded before Solar One even had a stage in the Park. Over 60 emerging choreographers and a dozen established choreographers have shown their work on the Solar One stage and in the Park as part of the Dance program. The Sun To Stars Festival of South Asian Dance and Music has become a signature program, and features the best local South Asian dancers and musicians in a day-to-night riverside performance. Other events include the annual Solar-Powered Film Series, live music, folk dancing, and Family Days. Past music performances all kinds of music including postpunk legends Mission of Burma, social justice hip hop duo Dead Prez, Brooklyn art punks Les Savy Fav, an annual concert by local jazz musicians the Rutkowski Trio & Friends and much more. Solar One is also a venue for many sustainably-powered hosted events; past events include Loving Day, Crawfish NY, Green Drinks NYC, Matthew Modine’s Bicycle for a Day and events in collaboration with Rooftop Films, the Israeli Consulate and HBO.

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Stuyvesant Cove Park is a 1.9-acre jewel located along the East River. It is the city’s first sustainably-managed park, and the approximately 100 species of plants used in its landscaping are those that would have grown along the estuary when the Lenape were the only local inhabitants. Built on a site that formerly housed a concrete factory and then was used for other industrial purposes, today Stuyvesant Cove Park is a public open space for New Yorkers to enjoy diverse outdoor recreation in an enjoyable breezy, green park. The location on the East River bike path gives visitors an uninterrupted view of the water, and the Park is part of a continuous greenway from lower midtown to the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

The original vision for Stuyvesant Cove Park was to house an environmental education center that allows urban residents to learn more about the natural world in New York City and provides a site for extensive education programs. Solar 2 is a planned new Green Energy, Arts & Education Center — and the full realization of that community vision. When built, it will feature cutting-edge green technology from geothermal heating to a solar power array, a water reclamation systems, green roof, energy efficient technology from windows to elevator, and a wetlands area with waterfront access.