press release

Multiply Solar, a partnership of Bright Power, Inc., Solstice Power Technologies, Inc., Sol Purpose Development Company, Green City Force, and Solar One, announced today its intent to construct, subscribe, and manage community solar installations at 27 sites on two New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments. The solar arrays, the first installed on NYCHA buildings, will bring renewable energy to low- and moderate-income residents, providing them with estimated savings of between 10 and 20 percent compared to ConEd rates.

Located on roofs of buildings at 27 Queensbridge North and Queensbridge South, the installations will provide 2 megawatts of solar capacity—the first step in fulfilling NYCHA’s commitment of installing 25 megawatts of solar by 2025 (this represents the largest such commitment by a residential landlord in the country). As a condition of the agreement, the project will bring discounted solar energy to low-income households, and provide jobs to NYCHA residents.

Bright Power, a local firm with extensive experience developing solar on multifamily affordable housing in New York City, will design and install the solar arrays, while Solstice, a Cambridge- and New York-based community solar organization, will manage community outreach, subscriber qualification, and enrollment. Sol Purpose will act as project developer and will provide financing for the projects. AmeriCorps green jobs training program Green City Force will collaborate with NYC green energy education center Solar One to lead the workforce development aspect of these projects.

Set to begin construction in 2019, the installations will operate under a model known as community solar, allowing area households to enroll in the solar farm and see savings on their electricity bill. The installations will be available to residents from around the local ConEd service territory, but Solstice representatives say that they intend to primarily serve residents of NYCHA housing.

“Solstice was founded to make affordable, clean energy available to underserved communities,” Said Solstice Co-Founder and CEO, Steph Speirs. “Low-income communities pay a higher portion of their monthly income for energy, and will benefit the most from electric bill savings. We’re excited to be working with NYCHA, Bright Power, Sol Purpose, Green City Force, and Solar One to ensure that residents of these communities are able to gain access.”

To ensure that low-income households are able to participate, the project will employ Solstice’s EnergyScore qualification metric. This metric is intended to replace FICO credit scores as a means of qualifying households for community solar, and is projected to be both more accurate than FICO in predicting community solar subscriber payment behavior, and more inclusive of LMI households.

Solstice estimates that they will enroll 100 low-income households in the projects, including NYCHA residents and NYCHA Section 8 voucher holders who pay their own electric bills.

Aside from renewable energy and bill savings, the projects will bring other benefits to the community. The project will pay NYCHA a yearly lease of $65,596.80 over 20 years, for a total of $1.3 million, with revenues directly benefiting residents of installation sites. Bright Power and Solstice will create 10 new solar installer jobs and two community outreach and enrollment positions for NYCHA residents who are current Corps members or alumni of Green City Force’s program.

“Bright Power is excited to be partnering with Sol Purpose, Solstice, Green City Force, and Solar One to deliver an exciting win-win-win-win for NYCHA, its residents and the planet, providing clean solar power, good jobs, revenue for NYCHA and lower electricity rates through this innovative community solar model,” said Jeffrey Perlman, Bright Power President & Founder.

“As NYCHA continues to implement its Sustainability Agenda, we will generate critical revenue, improve our residents’ quality of life, and protect NYCHA’s future for generations to come,” said former NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye. “These solar partners are a great example of how NextGeneration NYCHA is connecting residents to critical economic opportunities through effective partnerships.”

“There is no issue more pressing today than saving our atmosphere and planet. That’s why I’m excited about this opportunity to help transform the energy grids of neighborhoods close to home that are too often neglected,” said Manhattan NYCHA Resident Pedro Castillo, a Bright Power Installation & Construction Team Member. “The sun powers our entire solar system, and soon it’ll power NYCHA and the whole world. Energizing our world, while providing green construction job opportunities for NYCHA residents is exactly what is needed! The economy will certainly be better off for it. Hopefully, this is a sign of greater things yet to come.”