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.
Solar One, GRID Alternatives Tri-State and Co-op Power today announced the launch of Affordable Solar New York. The nonprofit initiative will bring low-cost solar power to affordable housing providers in New York, which provide critical housing and services to low-income residents. Solar can significantly reduce energy costs for both operators and tenants, yet up-front costs, credit scores and complex financing remain significant barriers for this sector to access the technology.
Affordable Solar New York will address these barriers by providing no-cost technical assistance, reduced-cost installation and zero-down financing options to Housing Development Fund Corporation cooperatives and other affordable housing providers in New York City. Projects will include both job training and energy efficiency education opportunities for residents.
“To reach Mayor de Blasio’s landmark OneNYC vision for a more sustainable, equitable, and resilient New York City, all New Yorkers will need the ability to tap into the cost and energy saving benefits that solar energy can provide,” said Mark Chambers, Director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “I applaud Solar One, GRID Alternatives, and Co-op Power on the launch of Affordable Solar New York, an important step toward a more inclusive energy landscape in New York City.”
“We’re very committed to creating jobs,” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito declared to 26 green job trainees at Solar One’s Workforce Training Lab on Monday. She was joined by the City Council Majority Leader, Jimmy Van Bramer, and Council Member Donovan Richards, Chair, Committee on Environmental Protection.
“We must all do our part to make New York a more sustainable City. The Solar One Workforce training program provides needed green job training skills to New Yorkers, and I’m proud to support this important initiative,” the Speaker told our trainees as she toured our lab in Long Island City.
The Solar Foundation (TSF), an independent nonprofit research and education organization, just released its New York Solar Jobs Census. The district-level Census found that New York’s solar industry employed 7,284 New Yorkers in 2014 and added nearly 2,100 solar jobs over the previous year. New York’s 40% solar industry employment growth allowed it to move to 4th in rankings of highest number of solar jobs by state. Solar employment in New York grew nearly 40 times faster than the state’s employment growth rate of 1.1 percent during the same period.
Solar One’s training lab is going to continue offering Urban Green’s GPRO Operations and Maintenance Essentials course and certificate into the fall. Classes will be held on December 18th and 19th, with the certificate exam on December 20th. Solar One can also provide private GPRO training for groups at your office.
Whether you are a superintendent, building maintainer, or property or facility manager, GPRO will help you make informed decisions about how to operate your buildings efficiently and safely. Going green not only results in energy savings, but will also reduce your heating and electricity costs, make tenant living and working environments healthier, and reduce the impact on the environment.