CHENANGO, N.Y. – Citizens Energy Vice President Michael Kennedy today flipped the switch on a 6-megawatt ground-mounted solar array to provide affordable green energy to families in New York.
Kennedy, Vice President of Business Development at the green energy non-profit, was joined by Chenango Town Supervisor Jo Anne Klenovic, Binghamton City Councilman Joe Burns, Broome County Senior Planner Beth Lucas, and Adam Flint, Director of Clean Energy Programs at Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition.
“We are the national leader in community solar development because we believe the shared solar model addresses the two most fundamental issues that our country is facing—climate change and economic inequality,” said Kennedy, nephew of Citizens Energy Chairman Joseph P. Kennedy II, the former Massachusetts Congressman who founded the non-profit in 1979 and still oversees the Boston-based company. “Until the advent of community solar, joining the green revolution was beyond the means of too many people. This program is about changing that and moving towards a greener, more equitable future.”
The 40-acre solar installation on West Chenango Road will generate electricity savings for 320 residential ratepayers who subscribe to Citizens Energy’s innovative JOE-4-SUN program. Subscribers receive a 20% discount on clean, renewable energy and will save about $200 each year.
“Citizens Energy Corporation worked with the Town of Chenango, through the town’s processes, to successfully launch a state-of-the-art solar site within the town boundaries,” said Klenovic. “The town board is pleased to have an innovative business like Citizens Energy leading the way for other companies to realize the potential of economic development in Chenango.”
“We recognize that to meet our local sustainability goals we must meet the varying needs of residents in innovative and equitable ways,” said Lucas, who is also the Climate Smart Communities Coordinator for Broome County. “Community solar offers a great option for residents that want to live a greener lifestyle, but are limited by site constraints or financial capacity.”
“We are thrilled to be a part of the launch of Broome County's first large-scale community shared solar project, built by union labor," said Flint. "Our Southern Tier Solar Works program has partnered with project developer Citizens Energy Corp., whose philanthropic mission allows us to offer the deepest discount of any community solar project in NYSEG's service territory. Anyone who pays a NYSEG electric bill can become a member of this project but we especially encourage low and moderate income residents to join so that they can reduce their energy cost burden."
The 16,600-panel array was made possible by a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) through NY-Sun, Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion initiative to advance the scale-up of solar and move the state closer to having a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry. The project is the second one owned and operated by the non-profit in New York State. The first is a 1.4-megawatt array also developed in partnership with NYSERDA, in Barneveld, which provides $30,000 in annual savings to the local non-profit Upstate Cerebral Palsy.
David Sandbank, NYSERDA’s Vice President of Distributed Energy Resources said, “Congratulations to Citizens Energy on the completion of their first community solar project in New York which will increase access to solar for local residents and businesses while helping the state meet its nation-leading clean goals under Governor Cuomo’s Green New Deal.”
The newly dedicated facility is one of six installations providing discount energy to everyday families through Citizens Energy’s groundbreaking JOE-4-SUN program. Each year, subscribers in New York will save almost $65,000 while joining the green energy revolution. Over the course of its 20-year-lifetime, JOE-4-SUN will save Empire State families upwards of $1.3 million.
The other five JOE-4-SUN arrays are located in Massachusetts and bring the sum total energy capacity of the cutting-edge program to 22 megawatts. Across the two states, JOE-4-SUN will save residents in the Northeast almost $12 million over two decades.
In addition to its New York and Massachusetts arrays, Citizens Energy recently unveiled the largest low-income community solar installation in the country, located in Imperial Valley, California. The 30-megawatt project, consisting of 107,000 panels, produces energy savings for 12,000 low-income households, making the Boston-based non-profit the national leader in mission-based renewable energy development.
Citizens Energy currently owns and operates over 40 solar projects, built and under construction, from Massachusetts to California that provide energy savings to low-income families, non-profits, fire departments, homeless shelters, and commercial clients. Among those is Stuarts Shops in upstate New York—receiving a portion of the discount energy from the Chenango array.
In order to be eligible for JOE-4-SUN in New York, renters or homeowners must be customers in the New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) service territory. Subscribers will receive energy credits on their regular NYSEG bill for at least three years. Households interested in subscribing to JOE-4-SUN may apply online by visiting www.citizensenergy.com/joe4sun, or by calling 855-JOE-4-SUN (855-563-4786) to request a paper application. Applicants can also send an email to JOE4SUN@citizensenergy.com for further information.