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Category Archives:

Solar Power

From 4% to 45%: US Energy Dept Recommends Huge Solar Expansion

The Biden administration on Wednesday released a plan to produce almost half of the nation’s electricity from the sun by 2050 as part of its effort to combat climate change.

Solar energy provided less than 4 percent of the country’s electricity last year, and the administration’s target of 45 percent would represent a huge leap and will most likely take a fundamental reshaping of the energy industry. In a new report, the Energy Department said the country needed to double the amount of solar energy installed every year over the next four years compared with last year. And then it will need to double annual installations again by 2030.

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New York State Hits Solar Milestone with 3 Gigawatts Installed

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced three gigawatts of solar have been installed across the state, enough to power more than half a million homes, underscoring New York’s leadership in growing one of the strongest solar markets in the nation. Since the launch of the NY-Sun initiative in 2011, solar has grown 2,100 percent statewide and declined in cost by 69 percent while fostering approximately 12,000 jobs across the state. When combined with the projects that are under development, achieving today’s milestone represents 95 percent of Governor Cuomo’s goal to install six gigawatts of solar by 2025, as mandated in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

“Solar energy is a key component in New York’s transition to a clean energy economy as we work to reduce harmful emissions across the board and address the dual challenges of fighting climate change and rebuilding stronger post-pandemic,” said the governor. “The success of NY-Sun demonstrates we are on track to meeting our nation-leading energy goals while stimulating green job growth and economic recovery in communities across the state as part of our comprehensive plan to reimagine New York following the pandemic.”

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Student Stephanie Sosa Talks About Her NYC Solar Schools Exeperience

Check out this inspiring interview with Stephanie Sosa, a student who was part of the NYC Solar Schools Education program run by the NYC Department of Education in partnership with Solar One’s Green Design Lab. The program gets students excited about clean energy early on through K-12 classroom lessons and then offers a pathway to get solar job training, certification, and first-hand experience while in high school.

Thanks to the NYC Solar Schools Education Program, college student Stephanie Sosa got a jumpstart into her clean energy career while she was still in high school. She participated in Solar One’s virtual summer course as a high-school senior during the pandemic in June of 2020 and earned her NABCEP Solar PV Associate credential. With that training and experience as a foundation, she has decided to pursue a degree in electrical engineering at the NYC College of Technology to prepare for a career in clean energy. And kudos to CareerCLUE educators Geovani Caldero, Bruno Estrada and Alex Nathanson for their excellent work with students like Stephanie!

Generation180: What sparked your interest in solar and clean energy? 

Stephanie Sosa: Ever since I was a little kid, my parents taught me to consider the earth a gift, because this is our home. I try my best to take care of it. In high school science class, we talked about ways we harm the earth, and the ways we can fulfill our human needs and wants. Solar and clean energy are the best way to fulfill our present needs without harming the earth and the ability of future generations to meet their needs. So, when I heard about Solar One’s virtual solar training for students, I applied right away.

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NYCHA’s Queensbridge Houses Go Solar

Solar Panel installation at Queensbridge Houses with GCF Participants

On Earth Day this past Thursday, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) announced substantial
completion of 1.8 megawatts of rooftop solar arrays on 27 buildings across Queensbridge North
and Queensbridge South Houses, the largest public housing project in the country. This solar
installation is the first to reach completion as part of NYCHA’s solar program, and is a key
component of the NYCHA Sustainability Agenda commitment to host 25 megawatts of solar
power by 2025, which will make it the largest community shared solar project in New York City.

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NYC Schools Going Solar “From the Outside In”

Want an in-depth look at how Solar One is working with the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Sustainability to solarize our public schools? Check out this article from Solstice.us that includes a great interview with Amy Colorado, the Green Design Lab’s Program manager fro K-12 Curriculum & Instruction.

“Learning about buildings and how buildings use energy – that’s what sustainability looks like in the city of New York,” Amy said. “I’m incredibly thankful to have entered Solar One to be able to teach environmentalism that is relevant to NYC and its residents.”

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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

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