Empowering Communities: The Community Power Project

Empowering Communities: The Community Power Project

NCSP, a DOE program, supports stakeholders to expand affordable community solar to all U.S. households, promoting benefits like savings, LMI access, resilience, ownership, and workforce development. NCSP’s 2025 goal is to power 5 million households and save $1 billion in energy bills.

The Sunny Awards, launched in 2022, recognize best practices in community solar, ensuring equitable access to meaningful benefits for subscribers and communities. These benefits positively impact households and surrounding areas.

Project Name: Community Power: Jobs & Savings for LMI Households
Location: Brooklyn & Manhattan, NY
Project Size: 1.2 MW
Project Subscribers: 500 residential subscribers
Year Energized: 2021
Lead Organization: Solar One (CEC Stuyvesant Cove, Inc.)
Partner Organizations: WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Brooklyn Movement Center, NYC Community Energy Co-op, Sunwealth, Accord Power, Green City Force, Con Edison, New York City Housing Authority Business Model: Third-party partnership flip (owned by a mission-driven for-profit entity for ten years, potential transfer to cooperative model)
State/Utility Program: ConEdison Reforming the Energy Vision Initiative
Bill Savings: 20% discount on bill credits
LMI Access: 100%

The Community Power project, a 1.2 MW initiative, spans 40 New York City Housing Authority buildings, delivering a guaranteed 20% electricity bill savings to 500 low- to moderate-income households. Through strategic partnerships with nonprofits, community-based organizations, mission-driven financiers, an energy cooperative, the nation’s largest public housing entity, a solar installer, and a utility, this project stands as a model for collaboration.

All 500 subscribers are low- to moderate-income households, making this project a significant driver of equitable access to renewable energy benefits.

Local community-based organizations, WE ACT for Environmental Justice and the Brooklyn Movement Center, engaged residents through a neighborhood-based approach. They collaborated with community boards, tenant associations, affordable housing providers, social service providers, and elected officials, building trust and awareness. The result was a fully subscribed project, with a 50-person waiting list.

In addition to bill savings, the project provided workforce training through a Green Apprenticeship Program led by Solar One and Green City Force. Twenty-five public housing residents participated in a 3-week training program, with 12 of them hired to install the Community Power project over 9 months. Several residents secured full-time positions, with some joining Accord Power, a minority-owned business, and others being employed by different solar installers.

Subscribers of this project also become members of the NYC Community Energy Co-op, granting access to other energy initiatives and voting rights for future projects. After 10 years, they have the opportunity to purchase the project from the current owner Sunwealth and become member-owners.

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