The Million Solar Strong Campaign, a movement of leading industry, environmental, clean energy and community organizations, was joined by Brooklyn Councilman Antonio Reynoso to urge New York State and Governor Cuomo to support more solar for low-income households. The group came together to tour one of the most successful local low-income solar housing developments at The Meekerman in Williamsburg. The recently opened project, which was developed by Dunn Development Corp., demonstrates how well solar can work with affordable housing. The coalition also released a policy roadmap for how to achieve the goal of serving 100,000 low-income New York State households with solar by 2023.
“I am proud to join The Million Solar Strong Campaign in calling upon Governor Cuomo to embrace a bold vision for New York with one million homes powered by solar by 2023, including 100,000 low-income households,” said New York City Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “We can no longer look at environmental justice and social justice as two separate causes with competing interests. It is time that we get rid of that notion and recognize that environmental justice is social justice. The Million Solar Strong Campaign has demonstrated that an investment in solar can have tremendous pay-offs for low-income residents. I urge the Cuomo administration to invest aggressively in solar energy, particularly in low-income communities, to ensure the health of our shared environment.”
Solar energy can help low-income communities save millions of dollars on electric bills, stabilize utility bill, improve energy and housing affordability, and building an equitable energy economy. Further, a recent National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) report found that nearly half of all residential rooftop solar potential in the U.S. is on the dwellings of low-to-moderate income (LMI) households, representing 320 gigawatts of total solar potential.
“Governor Cuomo must ensure that New York’s transition to clean energy benefits every New Yorker,” said Melanie Santiago-Mosier, Program Director, Low-Income Solar Access, Vote Solar. “Today we’ve seen the compatibility of affordable housing and solar energy, which has proven that solar can translate to tangible benefits for those that want it. We’re calling on Governor Cuomo and his Administration to act with the urgency that our communities deserve and put New York on a path to 100,000 low-income households with solar using the policy steps outlined in the Million Solar Households policy roadmap.”
Four keys in the policy roadmap
● Accessibility and Affordability: Provide opportunities for meaningful benefits through a combination of deep energy cost savings and direct support to overcome financial and other barriers to solar access.
● Community Engagement and Energy Democracy: The critical role of community involvement in the planning and deployment of clean energy is becoming clear. Low-income communities recognize the opportunities inherent in solar deployment and often wish to have more ownership and control in the clean energy future.
● Flexibility and Sustainability: Encourage long-term, competitive market development with flexibility to best serve the low-income market segment over time and as conditions and circumstances change.
● Compatibility and Integration. Solar programs that integrate low-income energy efficiency and workforce development, business opportunities, healthy home programs and other that address the intersection of equity, energy and infrastructure.
New York currently has enough solar to power more than 200,000 households and employs 9,000 workers in the fast-growing solar industry. The coalition has also released a policy roadmap outlining robust policy recommendations to achieve the goal of one million households powered by solar.
— Solar Builder magazine