Today Governor Cuomo announced "K-Solar," a new solar schools program that will help put solar panels on schools throughout New York. The program is the first of its kind and links community solar to solar schools in innovative new ways. Governor Cuomo should be commended for his plan to bring solar power’s many benefits to schools and communities across New York.
According to 2014 State of the State, K-Solar will include many aspects of recent, popular “Solarize” campaigns developed to help communities overcome financial and logistical barriers to installing solar power, leading customers through a simple process, from awareness to installation, in as little as six months. The key aspect of Solarize for communities is that the more projects that happen through the campaign, the cheaper each project is. K-Solar will add the wrinkle of providing greater incentives for the local school to go solar, the greater the number of systems installed in the surrounding community.
Solar power can reduce energy costs for our schools, provide healthier air for our kids to breathe, and serve as teaching tools for science, technology, engineering and math.
NRDC is eager to help the Governor and the state reach these goals. Community-led outreach and education is an essential element of the Solarize approach and one that NRDC views as vital to expanding the development of community solar projects and furthering the clean-energy economy.
NRDC looks forward to exploring opportunities to advance the state’s program through the Solar Schools platform we are developing now. It will help parents, teachers, students and community members connect and organize around the development of specific solar projects. These projects will increase renewable energy infrastructure in their neighborhoods, teach kids about the benefits of renewable energy, and, as importantly, help cash-strapped schools save money on energy that they can put toward their core mission: educating students. This platform will be a bridge that connects local enthusiasm for renewable energy with the experts and resources school communities need to build the futures they want.
2013 was a big year for solar. With leadership from Governor Cuomo, 2014 will be a big year for solar schools in New York.