Here Comes Solar believes that one of solar's most remarkable and disruptive virtues is that it is socially creative. Individuals and groups of people can actively cooperate and intervene 'from the edge' to make solar happen in interesting, powerful ways that private and public actors at the center are not be able to imagine or carry out by themselves.
In our new HCS Chats series we hope to speak and share experiences with people all over the city, state, and country (oh heck, the world too!) who are pushing solar in new creative, unconventional directions. For our first chat we stayed extra local and connected with some friends whose efforts we know very well: Ellen Honigstock (Solarize Brooklyn), Mirele Goldsmith (the Jewish Greening Fellowship Solar Program) and Jeffery Irvine (Solarize Community Board 6).
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.
To read the full report, click here
Not only are residential solar electric systems on row houses still relatively rare in New York in 2014, they are also rarely visible since they are typically installed on flat roofs, three or more stories above the street. So it's understandable that many row house owners might have difficulty envisioning what a solar system on their home might even look like. In this short video, Here Comes Solar technical expert and seasoned solar installer Matt Myshkin gives a two-minute tour of a recently installed solar electric system on a brownstone in Sunset Park.
Here Comes Solar announces the publication of “The Story of Solarize Brooklyn: How a Team of Neighbors Expanded Solar Homeownership in New York City’s Most Populous Borough.” The report (pdf) sponsored by NYSERDA and commissioned by Solar One, illuminates how a small group of volunteers, led by green architect Ellen Honigstock, conceived of and implemented Solarize Brooklyn, the first of its kind effort to expand residential solar homeownership in Brooklyn. Through interviews with participating homeowners, solar installers, and members of the Solarize Brooklyn core team, the report examines the program’s origins, process, and impact while also illustrating how the campaign influenced the design and development of Solar One's successor initiative, Here Comes Solar.
Divided into two parts, “The Story of Solarize Brooklyn” highlights the program’s successes as well as key learnings that emerged in confronting the particular challenges of going solar in New York City. The second half of the report details the Here Comes Solar model, which draws heavily on insights from Solarize Brooklyn’s homeowners, installers, and core team. Also featured are “Homeowner Spotlights,” short narratives of specific participating homeowners and their experiences of the process.
“The Story of Solarize Brooklyn” offers a comprehensive study for anyone interested in learning about the volunteer-driven effort and its impact on residential solar in New York City.
Whether they rent their home, own a condo or have a shaded roof, many New Yorkers are currently unable to install solar energy systems. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, only 22-27% of residential roof space is suitable for on-site solar production. This leaves the majority of homes in the dark, without the economic and environmental benefits associated with solar.
2015 could be the year this changes.
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