New Partnership Combines Solar Plus Energy Efficiency for Multifamily Properties

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March 21, 2017

An innovative new partnership is bringing the benefits solar power and energy efficiency to families in need in the Tri-State region. GRID Alternatives Tri-State and Association for Energy Affordability have joined forces to launch the new Energy Efficiency and Solar Partnership (EESP), which will maximize economic and environmental benefits for low income multifamily properties by reducing energy use through efficiency measures while increasing the percentage of buildings’ energy needs supplied by renewables. 

The nonprofit partnership will combine AEA’s leading edge expertise in energy efficiency with GRID Alternatives’ successful low-income solar model to bring low-cost energy efficiency and solar power to owners and managers of affordable multifamily housing, who provide critical housing and services to low-income households in the New York region.

Up-front costs, lack of access to capital, and complex financing requirements remain significant barriers for this sector to take full advantage of available programs and technologies.  The Energy Efficiency and Solar Partnership will leverage both philanthropic funding and energy efficiency programs funded by government or local utilities to address those barriers by covering or substantially reducing the costs to owners of technical assessments, design services, and installation of systems. Projects will include both job training and energy efficiency education opportunities for residents and other community members.

Through the Energy Efficiency and Solar Partnership, the partners plan to develop and install a number of multifamily affordable solar projects in 2017 and facilitate dozens more through technical assistance and coordination with the Weatherization Assistance Program. The EESP is eligible to apply for funding available through NYSERDA’s statewide NY-Sun program in support of solar energy system installations. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, NY-Sun aims to add more than 3,000 megawatts (3 gigawatts) of installed solar capacity in the State by 2023, or enough solar energy to power 400,000 homes.

"The EESP is an exciting initiative that offers the potential for developing a model for the successful integration of energy efficiency and solar PV to lower energy costs and enhance comfort for residents of affordable multifamily housing,” said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. “Partnerships like this are critical to achieving Governor Cuomo's Reforming the Energy Vision, for energy that is cleaner, more affordable, and more resilient for all New Yorkers.”

“The collaboration between AEA and GRID Alternatives Tri-State embodies OneNYC’s spirit of inclusive climate action,” said Mark Chambers, Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “By pairing energy efficiency services with solar energy products, this effort will help keep housing costs more affordable while enhancing energy independence and accelerating a whole-city transition toward Mayor de Blasio’s ambitious goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050.”

Owners and managers of affordable housing interested in energy efficiency or solar technical assistance or both can visit www.aea.us.org or http://www.gridalternatives.org/multifamily to get started.