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Michael Barry

Is the Spirit of Giving Contagious?

December 3, 2019

Today is Giving Tuesday, a coordinated effort of year-end giving that was started in 2011 to help counteract the overwhelming and exhausting consumerism and anxiety that often accompanies the demands of the holiday season. And while Giving Tuesday can itself seem overwhelming, the fact is that over the past eight years, it has been a tremendous success. From raising about $10 million in 2012 to as much as $400 million last year, the Giving Tuesday groundswell shows that the spirit of giving is contagious.

And it turns out that there’s a scientific basis for that: Giving has measurable effects on the brain, promoting both physical and mental health. According to research from the Cleveland Clinic, the benefits of charitable giving include:

Giving to a cause we are passionate about can also help soothe feelings of helplessness and stress, even in the face of crisis and uncertainty. It lifts us up out of ourselves and makes us part of something much bigger.

When you choose to make a gift to Solar One, you are supporting a clean energy revolution, innovative ways of teaching sustainability, the empowerment of environmental justice communities, and offering the hope of dignified employment to the formerly incarcerated and addicted. This Giving Tuesday, help yourself by helping the many students, teachers, trainees, and low-income residents who depend on Solar One’s programs to enrich their lives and improve their futures.

All gifts are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law, and gifts can be split into monthly donations.

Thank you in advance for your support, and thank you for being part of the Giving Tuesday community.

Chris Collins
Executive Director

solar power

An Innovative Solar One Program Empowers Vulnerable Communities with Resilient Solar + Storage

New York City, NY Through a program funded by the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR), NYC nonprofit Solar One and its network of installers are helping volunteer emergency responders and community organizations keep the lights on during blackouts.  

solar powerWhether triggered by unprecedented storms, heatwaves, or wildfires, blackouts are becoming increasingly common and hazardous. New Yorkers who weathered Superstorm Sandy understand better than most how challenging disaster recovery can be when the grid fails. But thanks to a new approach to disaster recovery, a few NYC community centers are about to become clean, resilient power hubs.

These projects are led by Solar One, an NYC non-profit dedicated to bringing clean energy to under-served urban communities. Solar One has received U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant–Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding to implement the Solar Power and Battery Back-up Program for Community Facilities. Together with GOSR, qualified installers, and community leaders, this Solar One program builds resilience in front-line communities for the battle against climate change.

When the power goes out, grid-tied solar installations automatically shut down to protect utility line workers from excess power feeding back into the grid. While there are thousands of solar installations deployed on buildings in NYC, only a tiny fraction can use their solar power during blackouts due to this safety measure. When paired with batteries, however, solar can safely disconnect from the grid while still providing onsite back-up power. Battery adoption has been slow in NYC due to high costs and nebulous regulations, but following years of diligent project development, research, and technical advances, solar + storage installations are finally moving forward.

Here’s how it works. The Solar One team identifies which community facilities are the best candidates for energy storage installations. Building location, availability of outdoor space, vulnerability to flooding and blackouts, and other infrastructure considerations are all assessed. Solar One issues a Request for Proposals to installers for the most viable of these sites, aggregating sites for scalability and impact. Finally, Solar One contracts with the most qualified installer and site owner and then serves as a fiscal liaison with GOSR, facilitating the projects from contracting to commissioning and supporting them wherever possible.

The first of these pioneering projects will be installed by Solar Liberty at four community facilities in Brooklyn and the Bronx:

  • Birch Family Services (Brooklyn)
  • Flatlands Volunteer Ambulance Corps (Brooklyn)
  • Throggs Neck Volunteer Ambulance Corps (The Bronx)
  • Villa Maria Academy (The Bronx)

Once completed, these projects will provide reliable, renewable back-up power to the buildings during future blackouts, no matter how long they last. Each site will utilize this critical power supply according to its unique strengths. For example, in the case of Throggs Neck Volunteer Ambulance Corps, maintaining building functions during blackouts so it can respond to neighborhood emergencies will be invaluable.

The nearby Villa Maria Academy has been a community hub for over 130 years. Ravaged by Superstorm Sandy, the school is keenly aware of its precarious location on the shore of Long Island Sound. A solar power and battery back-up installation will help Villa Maria offer refuge for hundreds of people during emergencies, providing lighting, cooling, device charging, and basic food services.

School Principal Sr. Teresa Barton says:

“When Superstorm Sandy knocked out our power, we had no way of servicing our students and community for about a week. We are so thankful to the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery for providing us with the solar power and energy storage that is necessary to avoid a similar circumstance in the future. We are also excited to reduce our environmental impact by using renewable energy.”

These initial projects are paving the way for many more of their kind in the future, including a second round of installations slated for development in late 2020. And these projects don’t just present a new model for resilience in the face of extreme weather events – they also foster awareness and enthusiasm for urban solar + storage installations. That means energy cost savings for neighborhood organizations, more renewable energy in under-served communities, and tangible steps mitigating the effects of climate change.

If you are in the solar or storage industry and interested in these projects, please join Solar One’s webinar on Monday, November 18th  to learn more and discuss cultivating resilience in vulnerable communities. Please sign up here to join.

For more information contact:
Michael Barry
Solar One Communications Manager
(646) 576-5656
barry@solar1.org

S1-Climate-week

Solar One’s Climate Week Events

Here Are The Upcoming Climate Week Events We Are Participating In

September 21st
September 21st
September 25th
September 26th

 

Sarah and Karen React

Solar One’s Green Design Lab Selected as a Winner of 2019 UL Innovative Education Award

Solar One’s Green Design Lab Selected as a Winner of 2019 UL Innovative Education Award

Sarah and Karen ReactWe have exciting news to share with our Solar One friends – Our Green Design Lab program has been honored for our excellence in environmental STEM education as a 2019 UL Innovative Education Award (ULIEA) winner!

The UL Innovative Education Award is celebrating five years of recognizing organizations in the United States and Canada that demonstrate effective educational programming and community engagement. The program is supported through a partnership between Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE). To celebrate UL’s 125th Anniversary, six ULIEA winners were selected.

We are thrilled to be honored as a second tier winner and to receive $50,000! (Want to see our team surprised with the announcement of winning? Watch this fun video to see our reaction!)

While winning $50K provides invaluable support for us to continue to refine and develop our programs, we are also excited to join the established network of ULIEA alumni awardees. In early August we will meet with our fellow 2019 winners, along with experts from UL and NAAEE, to further discuss environmental STEM education and how we can collaborate on social impact projects to engage youth, inspire leadership, and drive sustainable change.

“It is truly a privilege to recognize the important work of the UL Innovative Education Award winners, and to help them continue to bring unique and engaging learning opportunities to students in their regions,” said Cara Gizzi, VP of Education and Outreach, Underwriters Laboratories. “Over the past five years, 26 total winners received over $1.275 million to support environmental STEM programs, and they’ve built a strong network with like-minded organizations around the U.S. and Canada. This year’s cohort reaches a diverse group of audiences with innovative programming that can serve as a model for programs around the globe.”

To learn more about the UL Innovative Education Award, please visit ulinnovationeducation.naaee.net.

 

Solar Shines Throughout 2018

Solar Shines Through 2018

Although there were some setbacks at the Federal level, there was plenty of good news in the world of Solar Power last year. More and more Americans are working in the solar industry, and there were plenty of installations last year in all sectors of our society. The more solar we install, the more we reduce our CO2 emissions and mitigate the effects of global warming. The infographic below is just a small sampling of some recent numbers. Enjoy and feel free to share!

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