In this week's Newsletter: Solarize campaigns have brought 850 solar projects to sites across NYS, huge thanks to Unirac, Inc. for donating equipment to help train the next generation of installers, the uncertain future of the Clean Power Plan and much more!
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Solarize NY, Round 2: 850 Solar Projects Bring NYS Ever Closer to 2030 Goal


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced last week that 850 solar projects have been installed or are in development in communities across New York State through the second round of locally-organized "Solarize" campaigns. Launched by the Governor in December 2014, New York's Solarize program is an important part of the State's Clean Energy Standard, which requires that 50 percent of the electricity in New York come from renewable sources by 2030.

The announcement was made at an event in Brownsville, Brooklyn, where more than 200 homes have been outfitted with solar panels as part of the "Solarize Brownsville" campaign. Solarize Brownsville brought together community partners, local residents, and the selected solar installer to successfully demonstrate that solar power can make an impact in low- to moderate-income communities. Solarize campaigns bring together groups of potential solar customers through widespread outreach and education and help customers choose solar companies that offer competitive, transparent pricing. 

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority provided $700,000 in technical and marketing support in the first two rounds of the Solarize program, in 2015 and 2016. Rounds one and two resulted in more than 13 megawatts of new solar capacity, and group discounted pricing saved participants a total of approximately $2.9 million on upfront purchase costs, or an average savings of $1,743 per installation. These discounted prices demonstrate the power of communities organizing and working together to make solar more affordable.

Solar One's Here Comes Solar program organized a number of successful Solarize campaigns including Solarize Central Brooklyn, Solarize CB6 Sun for All, and an ongoing campaign in partnership with WEACT for Environmental Justice to facilitate solar adoption among affordable housing in Northern Manhattan. Installing solar in NYC has its own unique challenges, but group purchasing makes solar more accessible for everyone! In NYC alone, 5 campaigns supported by NYSERDA have resulted in 202 installations that produce 996 kilowatts of clean electricity, and the City recently launched its own program to support even more Solarize campaigns.

A Big Heartfelt Thank You to Unirac, Inc. from Solar One

There are a lot of exciting things about solar PV- it produces extremely cheap electricity, it makes meters run backwards, and maybe best of all, it's highly place-based. Solar jobs are necessarily local and can't be outsourced, and as prices continue to drop, it's logical to expect demand to rise. Market economics 101, right?

So it's tremendously wonderful to announce that, thanks to a very generous donation from Unirac, Inc., manufacturer of PV mounting solutions, Solar One's Green Design Lab K-12 Education team will be able to teach solar PV training as part of the electricity curriculum in CTE (career technical education) high schools throughout the city. 

Because the vast majority of New York City solar installations are on a multi-family flat-roof buildings, PV arrays cannot be installed by traditional racking methods used on standard shingle roofs. Unirac has donated a bunch of RM5s, a top-of-the-line ballast mounting product that's more compatible with city roofs. These ballast systems will allow Solar One to provide a consistent training platform and simulate the real-world solar market in the New York City area. In addition to the CTE schools, Solar One’s Green Workforce Program will now be able to demonstrate flat-roof PV installations for our workforce students in Long Island City, Queens.

So again, thanks to Unirac for their generous support! We'll see you on the roof!

What Does the Future Hold for the Clean Power Plan?

Much has been made of the Trump administration's vow to eliminate the Clean Power Plan, one of the pieces of the Obama administration's climate change plan and send coal miners back to work. But getting rid of the regulations will take more than the swipe of a pen.

“This is nowhere near over,” says David Doniger, director of the climate and clean air program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group that played a key role in advising the EPA on the original proposal. “It wasn’t easy to create Clean Power Plan to begin with and it isn’t proving easy to tear it down.”

Because the Clean Power Plan is a finalized regulation, repealing it is not as simple as Trump wishing it away. Whatever the administration decides, it will need to publish a written justification, which will be scrutinized by environmental groups in a likely lawsuit on the decision. The administration faces a similar quandary that plagued the GOP during the health care fight: repeal the Clean Power Plan outright, or replace it with a shell of a rule?

Even climate change deniers admit the EPA must continue to regulate on climate unless they can reverse the EPA’s scientific determination that carbon pollution is a danger to public health. Whether climate regulations find themselves on the same repeal, repeal-and-replace or improve the existing law track as the Affordable Care Act, rest assured that we have not seen the last of the Clean Power Plan in the US.

You can read more about this on Grist.org here.

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Upcoming Events at Solar One

8/12
THIS SATURDAY! Community Volunteer Day in Stuyvesant Cove Park
Solar 1, Stuyvesant Cove Park, 23rd Street & the East River, 10:00am-1pm, free
RSVP to liza@solar1.org.

Other Events


8/12-13
27th Annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
Meadow Lake, Flushing Meadows, Corona Park, Queens, 9am-5pm, free
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