Domingo Morales was a young father living in public housing in East Harlem when he saw a flyer from Green City Force, a Brooklyn non-profit and longtime Solar One partner that trains young people for green careers. He signed up for the program and fell in love with composting. Last week, Mr. Morales and the program he created and runs, Compost Power, were featured in the NY Times.
His story is an inspiring example of how green workforce training and environmental education can have a huge impact on individuals, families and communities.
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New York’s climate goals are some of the most ambitious in the nation: by law, the state needs to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and shift to a completely clean, emissions-free electricity economy by 2050, and get to 70% renewable generation by 2030. And to reach that goal, state agencies and private companies have been ramping up renewable energy sources like wind and solar farms. Solar One has been involved in this change almost since its inception, playing a role in getting New York’s first net metering law passed, which paved the way for a renewable revolution, and our Here Comes Solar, Green Design Lab and Workforce Training programs have all been playing roles in this historic transition ever since, as have our staff who work on NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Communities program at the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.
Sounds pretty promising, doesn’t it? However, there’s a catch. Most of the renewable generation being developed in New York is located upstate, where space is plentiful and land is relatively cheap. But the need for power is greatest in NYC, and the transmission lines tasked with moving the power down to us just can’t handle that many electrons.
In September, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced two huge transmission-line projects to help bridge that divide, a step that environmental advocates hope is a sign that she is accelerating the state’s efforts to address climate change and environmental inequities.
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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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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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This article was written by Noah Ginsburg, Director of Solar One’s community solar initiative, Here Comes Solar:
Earlier this week the Trump Administration announced that it was levying a tariff (tax) on all imported solar panels. This tax was supposedly levied to protect American manufacturing jobs, but in reality there are very few USA solar manufacturing jobs to protect. Less than 2% of American solar jobs are in solar panel or cell manufacturing, and the tariff will marginally increase the cost of solar to consumers and therefore slow the growth of more robust sectors of the USA solar industry, which currently employs more than 260,000 Americans.
Those of you reading the headlines may be wondering “How big will the impact be?” or “Will this impact my ability to save money with solar?” Read on for answers to these questions and to learn more about the tariff and what it really means for our domestic solar industry, and for all of us as potential consumers of clean affordable solar energy.
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