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The Solar Alternative


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Installing a Solar Photovoltaic System with Grid Alternatives. Photo by Stacy Lee, OLTPS

By Luke Clause, Senior Project Manager, Center for Economic Transformation

Earlier this month, members of NYCEDC’s Clean Technology and Energy Team helped install a solar photovoltaic (PV) system on a home in Far Rockaway through Grid Alternatives, the nation's largest nonprofit solar contractor.

Grid Alternatives is a nonprofit organization that installs clean, cost-saving solar electric systems exclusively for low-income families at no cost, with help from various grants, equipment donations, and volunteer installation crews. Our Clean Technology and Energy Team, joined by members of the Mayor’s Office, volunteered over two days at one of the many solar installations in Far Rockaway that are bringing valuable renewable energy resources to Sandy-impacted residents. Grid Alternatives also provides valuable job training programs, allowing those seeking a career in solar energy crucial on-the-job experience and skills.

RackingGrid Alternatives is just one of many partners NYCEDC collaborates with to support the growth of solar energy throughout New York City. Since 2007, NYCEDC has co-led the NYC Solar Partnership with Sustainable CUNY and the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. By coordinating efforts between solar installers, customers, City & State agencies, and utilities, the NYC Solar Partnership has accelerated solar installations and reduced overall costs in NYC. The partnership has developed valuable resources such as the NYC Solar Map, which tracks solar installations in the city and allows anyone to determine how much solar energy a particular building could generate.

New York City's Sustainability Plans 

At the beginning of Climate Week this past September, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the One City: Built to Last plan, a groundbreaking sustainability initiative which will help reduce New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. The plan also includes the installation of 250 megawatts of new solar capacity throughout the city’s private sector buildings within the next ten years. NYCEDC and the NYC Solar Partnership will support this goal by continuing their mission to promote large-scale solar energy market growth.

solar pv

To help increase the adoption of solar energy, the Partnership launched NYSolar Smart Solarize Brooklyn CB6, which will help homeowners and small businesses leverage group buying power to lower the cost of their solar systems. NYCEDC will support the launch of a streamlined permit application process, develop pathways to facilitate residents of multifamily buildings to go solar, and address financial and technical barriers specific to New York City.

To learn more about NYCEDC’s cleantech and energy initiatives, New York City’s sustainability plans, or how you can get involved with Grid Alternatives as a volunteer, please visit Grid Alternatives, New York Tri-State; NYCEDC, Clean Technology and EnergySustainable CUNY, Solar in New York CityNYC Built to Last; and PlaNYC.

All Photos Courtesy of Grid Alternatives and Lara Croushore



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