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.
This summer and fall Solar One is continuing its work with WEACT for Environmental Justice and the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) advancing solar adoption among affordable co-ops and buildings throughout Northern Manhattan. The campaign, which received a grant from the City's Solarize NYC program, is called Solar Uptown Now. Through the group purchasing campaign, the partners hope to make affordable clean energy available to buildings in Harlem and Washington Heights; neighborhoods that have a high density of affordable housing where working families could really benefit from utility bill savings. We are organizing a group of buildings to install solar at the same time and negotiate group discounted pricing from a qualified local solar company.
Through the campaign, any building from Harlem through Inwood is eligible to receive a free solar savings analysis and consultation from Solar One, and a no-obligation bid from the selected solar company. The campaign runs through February 2018, so act now to secure your free technical assistance and group discount!
Solar One 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.”
Affordable Solar New York’s inaugural project is with Nazareth Housing, a supportive housing organization that serves vulnerable New Yorkers on the Lower East Side and promotes housing stability and economic independence among low-income families and individuals in New York City. Solar One provided technical assistance for the project, which will be installed by GRID Alternatives in early 2017 through its unique workforce development model, and financed through Co-op Power’s innovative financing. The solar electric system will provide more than 80% of the building’s annual common area electricity and is projected to save the organization 30% on its overall electricity costs over the system’s 25 year life, savings that will allow Nazareth Housing to better serve its constituents.
“For nearly 35 years, Nazareth Housing has creatively endeavored to develop sustainable, affordable housing in the Lower East Side and the Bronx,” said Michael Callaghan, Executive Director of Nazareth Housing. “I am truly pleased that our building will be the inaugural solar project of Affordable Solar New York. Being in a flood zone that was significantly impacted by superstorm Sandy, solar capacity brings environmental and fiscal benefits, while also helping us build resiliency for the future.”
Through Affordable Solar New York, the partners plan to develop and install a number of multifamily affordable solar projects in 2017 and facilitate dozens more through technical assistance. The initiative dovetails with new state funding for low-income solar announced last week by Governor Cuomo, which could further reduce costs for housing providers.
Affordable housing providers and Housing Development Fund cooperatives interested in solar technical assistance can visit www.affordablesolarny.org to get started.
Affordable Solar New York is made possible by The JPB Foundation through its support of GRID Alternatives’ multifamily program, and The Kresge Foundation, The 11th Hour Project, a program of The Schmidt Family Foundation, Rosin Fund of The Scherman Foundation, and The Mertz Gilmore Foundation for their generous support of Solar One. Nazareth Housing was connected with Affordable Solar New York through Solarize LES, a community campaign supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
If you are an affordable housing developer, an HDFC co-op board member, or low or moderate income resident in NYC and would like to know more, please click here and fill out a short survey and we will get back to you.