Posted on February 7, 2019
Community Solar Developers Get Creative to Finance Big Projects
“It’s a simple, but powerful model.” https://t.co/dqiVaYbsDl
— Next City (@NextCityOrg) February 7, 2019
New York City’s Economic Development Corporation had put out a call for proposals to redevelop the historic Sunset Park shipping terminal, and Solar One and the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance got involved. “They wanted to make sure that anything that was done around the Brooklyn Army Terminal was supportive of that community that’s been fighting and the original members of that community,” said Shakoor Aljuwani who works with the group on its New York City projects.
And while the terminal’s space offered an ideal location for installing a solar array, paying for these kinds of projects often presents a conundrum. Timothy DenHerder-Thomas of Minnesota-based Cooperative Energy Futures says that financing solar projects in a way that is “tailored toward community benefit and local control” is an open question. “I think that is a really big part of the problem that needs to be addressed for these things to grow and flourish,” he told Next City.
Part of the training with community leaders includes learning about different kinds of solar panels and systems, installation, financing, and legal work “so that leaders can make informed decisions about every step of the process.” This, Aljuwani says, means that communities develop more than just solar power. “We think, from our experience, we’ll see those organizations get even stronger and develop community leaders that are even more powerful at being able to make sure their communities are empowered and can make decisions about their communities’ health. So, we’re excited about that.”