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USA Real Estate Blog

The People’s Power | Urban Omnibus

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This fall, Sunset Park Solar, New York City’s first co-operatively owned solar garden, will be installed on the roof of the Brooklyn Army Terminal. Community solar projects are growing across the United States, providing much more than renewable energy. Once connected, the almost-two-acre array will feed back into New York City’s energy grid. The value of this electricity will then be converted into credits, reducing monthly energy bills for the 150 Sunset Park households and small businesses who have signed up to be co-op members. Beyond conventional single-family home rooftop installations, the project is a model for urban solar generation that can reduce reliance on fossil fuels and the proportion of household income spent on energy, while creating new jobs on an industrial waterfront. It’s exemplary of everything UPROSE, Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community-based organization, fights for.

UPROSE has spent decades advocating to diminish environmental burdens in Sunset Park while also working to protect people and businesses from displacement. What does it take to achieve “site security” for solar panels amidst such pressures? Urban Omnibus talked with Lourdes Pérez-Medina, Climate Justice Policy and Programs Coordinator, and Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director (recently named one of the world’s 100 most influential people in climate policy) at UPROSE about Sunset Park Solar and its role in a just transition from an extractive to a regenerative economy. With a Green New Deal Resolution before Congress calling for rapid decarbonization to be led by “community-defined projects,” Sunset Park Solar illustrates the power of a grassroots vision for economic and climate resilience.

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