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Solar One Announces Appointment of Stephen Levin as Chief Executive Officer

Stephen Levin will join Solar One as CEO as of January 10, 2022, after serving as New York City Councilmember for District 33 since 2010. He takes the helm of the organization following the retirement of Christopher J. Collins, who led Solar One for 17 years.

Stephen Levin PhotoNew York City, NY January 5, 2022 – Solar One is pleased to announce the appointment of Stephen Levin as Chief Executive Officer. Stephen joins Solar One after 12 years as a member of the New York City Council for District 33, serving neighborhoods of Brooklyn including Greenpoint, parts of Williamsburg, Vinegar Hill, Dumbo, Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Boerum Hill, and parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant.

As an award-winning New York City nonprofit, Solar One is dedicated to sustainability and resiliency in urban neighborhoods and delivers a wide array of programming providing environmental education services to diverse program participants. Solar One welcomes Stephen to lead the organization in its next phase of growth, building on a strong financial foundation, highly regarded programs, strong partnerships with government agencies and community partners.

During his tenure as a Councilmember, and as Chair of the New York City Council’s General Welfare Committee, Stephen focused on ensuring homeless families and individuals have access for permanent housing and guaranteeing long term support for those in the foster care system. During his tenure, Councilmember Levin served on multiple committees including the Environmental Protection, Land Use, Cultural Affairs, Education, and Transportation committees, as well as the Land Use Subcommittee on Landmarks and Public Siting.

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Solar One Selected by the Citi Foundation’s Community Progress Makers Initiative to Advance Social and Economic Opportunity in New York City

This unrestricted grant of $500,000 will enable Solar One to strengthen our programming, bringing those most affected by environmental injustice to the forefront of developing and benefitting from the clean energy economy.

New York City, NY (December14, 2021) – Solar One was selected by Citi Foundation as a recipient of the Community Progress Makers initiative, which supports visionary organizations across the U.S. that are working to connect low-income communities and communities of color to greater social and economic opportunity. As a Community Progress Maker, Solar One will receive a multi-year, unrestricted grant of $500,000 and access to technical assistance and a supportive learning community from 2022 – 2023.

Through Citi Foundation’s support, Solar One will be able to expand and enhance its programs in K-12 environmental education, green workforce training, solar installation technical assistance, and eco-park stewardship. Through programs like these, Solar One transforms the way people think about energy, the urban environment, and resilience.

“We are truly honored to be included in this year’s cohort of grant recipients, all of whom are doing such crucial work in cities around the country,” said Solar One’s Executive Director Christopher J. Collins. “With the support of the Citi Foundation and the Community Progress Maker program, we will be able to reach more stakeholders and program participants in our community and facilitate new ways living, working, and thinking that are a crucial component of our response to a world affected by climate change. We are looking forward to connecting with other grantees and working with the Urban Institute to collectively amplify the work each our organizations do individually.”

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EPA Pledges to Fix Longstanding Water Issues on Tribal Lands

November has been designated as Native American Heritage Month, and in advance of it, the US Environmental Protection Agency released a long-needed action plan to improve water and sewer infrastructure on native lands. The plan, which was developed with input from the National Tribal Water Council, will guide the implementation of improvements that will bring tribal communities in line with the standards defined in the Clean Water Act.
According to a 2019 report from the U.S. Water Alliance, Native American households are 19 times more likely than white households to lack indoor plumbing. The lack of a clean, reliable water source can make handwashing and hygiene difficult for Native households—inequities that were further exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The infrastructure for safe drinking water and basic sanitation needs are core concerns for any tribal nation,” said NTWC chairman Ken Norton, who is a member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe, whose lands are in Northern California.

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Solar-Funded WiFi for Affordable Housing: the New Normal?

Residents of 22 buildings in East New York, Crown Heights and Bedford Stuyvesant are about to get free solar-powered WiFi under a new program that could be replicated across the city’s entire affordable housing stock.

Workforce Housing Group (WFHG), a New York-based affordable housing development organization, secured first-of-its-kind financing from the NY Green Bank (NYGB) to install solar panels on 18 of its affordable housing buildings. Our Here Comes Solar team helped develop and execute the solar strategy for these buildings.

The solar arrays will generate clean energy and the savings that creates will go towards repaying the $60 million loan and providing residents with WiFi at no cost.

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The Derek Chauvin Trial Is Over, But the Fight for Justice and Accountability Isn’t

Americans who were horrified about the murder of George Floyd and protested police violence and over-policing of people of color throughout last summer breathed a collective sigh of relief when the jury in the Chauvin trial returned a verdict of “guilty” on all three counts on Tuesday. Mr. Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, wrote this moving tribute in the Washington Post that speaks to what so many are feeling: exhaustion, relief, a sense of history moving slowly forward. The verdict is historic and we hope it is a strong first step towards more even-handed and less racially motivated dispensation of justice in the United States.

But there is still much work to be done. Hours before the Chauvin verdict was announced, 16 year old M’Khia Bryant was shot and killed by police responding to a 911 call in Columbus, Ohio. And in December of last year, two other Black citizens died at the hands of Columbus police: Casey Goodson, Jr., 23, and Andre Hill, 47. Many others around the country, including Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile and so many others have had the justice they deserved deferred or denied. We must continue to remember their humanity, the pain of their loved ones in the face of their tragic and unnecessary deaths, and the value to our society that was lost with them.

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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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