HEADLINES

Westchester County Encourages Local Municipalities to Enroll in Community Solar Programs

State Agencies Announce Additional Funding to help all residents

access Clean, Affordable Solar Energy


 

In an effort to help all Westchester County communities access clean, affordable and reliable solar energy, as well as add a new revenue stream for businesses and property owners, Westchester County Executive George Latimer is encouraging local municipalities to apply for funding through New York State’s Affordable Solar and Energy Storage Predevelopment and Technical Assistance Program. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced new and advanced initiatives to help address environmental justice. NYSERDA made available more than $10.6 million to help underserved communities access the benefits of clean, affordable solar and energy storage, representing the first step in implementing New York’s Social Energy Equity Framework.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, grants provided through the Program will help offset predevelopment costs to address system installation barriers. The funding opportunity is a real benefit to businesses and property owners, for them to affordably add solar to their buildings, facilities and property. 

Latimer said: “Many homeowners are ineligible to install solar on their homes for a host of reasons including that they may be renting a property, have too much shade, poor roof conditions or because of financial restrictions. However, Community Solar is designed to be accessible for all communities and residents, and the financial savings and environmental improvements will bring real relief to our local municipalities during these challenging times.”

Community solar brings the benefits of renewable energy to Westchester residents who have previously not had access to them. All residents, including renters and homeowners, can enroll and directly support the construction and operation of new solar installations located offsite, while savings money on their electricity bills.

NYSERDA will be hosting a webinar on July 14 to launch the funding opportunity, and provide information on how to apply. To register, visit www.nyserda.ny.gov/aspta. Applications will be accepted on a rolling, quarterly basis through December 31, 2024.

Sustainable Westchester, a local non-profit whose members include Westchester County and almost every Westchester municipality, has played a leading role in bringing the benefits of community solar to local residents, businesses and organizations. The organization has partnered with solar developers, local governments, commercial property owners and others to both encourage new solar development and to provide community solar enrollment opportunities to Westchester residents and organizations.

Director of Solar Programs at Sustainable Westchester Nina Orville said: “Sustainable Westchester is committed to bringing the benefits of community solar to communities across the County. We are eager to continue to partner with community organizations, local governments, housing authorities and other partners to ensure that we are effectively reaching all who need the savings and other benefits of community solar most. We are confident that the Affordable Solar and Energy Storage Predevelopment and Technical Assistance Program will support these efforts in Westchester and elsewhere around the state.”

Director of Energy Conservation and Sustainability Peter McCartt said: “This is another classic ‘Save Green by Being Green’ win-win-win opportunity. Property owners can receive funding for installing revenue-generating solar, local residents can receive a 10% discount on their electric bill, and Mother Earth obviously wins because we are burning less of the dirty fossil fuels.”

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