Sunset Park is taking it from the top, in terms of solar power.
On Thurs., Nov. 8, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced that UPROSE, an environmental advocacy group based in the Sunset Park, in conjunction with Solar One, 770 Electric Corp. and Co-op Power, has been chosen to develop and operate a community solar garden at the Brooklyn Army Terminal (BAT).
According to BAT, the rooftop solar array will be the first cooperatively-owned project of its kind in New York State, and will connect hundreds of New Yorkers and industrial businesses to sustainable energy through an affordable subscription-based service.
NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett said he was delighted with the collaboration.
“The Brooklyn Army Terminal is one of the most innovative and accessible industrial campuses in the world,” he said. “We’re using its vast rooftop space to create new capacity for solar power in New York City and deliver a sustainable energy alternative to the surrounding community.
Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of UPROSE, agreed.
“We are excited about the incredible opportunities provided to us by the development of community solar at Brooklyn Army Terminal,” she said. “UPROSE has long held that the crisis of climate change must be addressed by expanding democratic control over resources and elevating community into positions of leadership and decision-making.
“This is particularly true in environmental justice communities like Sunset Park,” she continued. “We commend the EDC for recognizing this opportunity, and we look forward to developing an innovative solar project that brings clean renewable energy to Sunset Park community members, utilizes public assets for maximum public benefit, and takes us one step closer towards climate justice and a just transition for a frontline neighborhood.”
According to EDC, the 80,000-square-foot community solar garden atop BAT’s Building B is slated to be running in late 2019. Subscribers will join the New York City Community Energy Cooperative and make monthly payments in exchange for solar energy credits that reduce their energy bills.
“This project will provide not only the economic benefits of owning a large shared solar array but also the political and social benefits that go along with ownership,” added Shakoor Aljuwani, coordinator, New York City Community Energy Cooperative (Co-op Power).
Executive Director of Solar One Christopher Collins agreed.
“Sunset Park Solar is a powerful example of community-driven renewable energy development,” he said. “This project demonstrates that all New Yorkers, regardless of income, employment or homeownership status, can play a meaningful role in our transition to clean energy.”
Solar installation company 770 Electric Corp. will hire local job trainees to install the array. As part of their community engagement, UPROSE will also recruit residents to participate in a free solar installation training program facilitated by Solar One.
Elected officials chimed in on the ambitious undertaking.
“I believe it is essential to clean and green Brooklyn’s energy consumption, making our borough a model for our city and country,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “The sun is rising on a new day on Sunset Park, and this community solar garden captures and harnesses that beautiful energy.”
“I am proud that Sunset Park will host the first-ever cooperatively-owned solar project in New York State,” added Councilmember Carlos Menchaca. “This is an example of what happens when government takes seriously its responsibility to give the community a seat at the table in every aspect of governance and maintenance of the city. However, we must ensure the promise is delivered, and I will work with NYCEDC, UPROSE, and Solar One to ensure local Sunset Park residents reap the benefits of this new and exciting solar project.”
“Brooklyn can help lead the nation with this new solar power project. As we strive to end our reliance on fossil fuels and work to improve Planet Earth and the environment, use of solar power and other methods will help us in so many ways. Let’s make sure everyone knows about this new cost savings and energy efficient project at the Brooklyn Army Terminal,” remarked Assemblymember Felix Ortiz.
The project is expected to serve approximately 200 households and businesses, and result in more than $1 million in net electric bill savings over 25 years.