Religious institutions in New York will be able to access energy efficiency initiatives, retrofit projects, and fossil fuel transition plans.

by Tim Sylvia for PV Magazine

April 22. 2021

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority awarded $4 million to three entities to help religious groups and other “anchor institutions” advance energy efficiency initiatives, transition off fossil fuels, and adopt retrofit projects.

One investment priority is to seek leadership commitments from, and organize 80 or more building owners and anchor institutions, to develop and implement long-range energy plans for their buildings. The goal is to equip at least 65 faith communities with roadmaps to phase out their buildings’ use of fossil fuels, and complete 30 energy efficiency demonstration projects.

Faith institutions were chosen because their show of commitment is expected to help in the ongoing development of a project pipeline. Projects included in the program may include solar arrays.

The grant money was offered to Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (Metro IAF ), the Community Purchasing Alliance (CPA), and BlocPower.

As part of the partnership, CPA will help a group of congregations and building owners navigate the process of developing solar on their roofs, parking lots, or other properties, and “get the best terms possible through their combined buying power,” said Joe Naroditsky, director of solar programs for the group.

Outreach to institutions in disadvantaged communities is being prioritized. The energy efficiency work is expected to generate millions of dollars in economic activity as well as jobs and health benefits for communities that need them most.

Metro IAF will oversee each project. Contractors will commit to workforce development standards that include ensuring that the projects benefit congregation members. The program sets a target that 40% of the total worker hours be performed by residents of disadvantaged communities or people who previously were unemployed or underemployed.

Funding for the initiative is through the state’s 10-year, $5.3 billion Clean Energy Fund. The program supports Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 85% by 2050, as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

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