Last Tuesday, Queens elected officials joined members of the Million Solar Strong Campaign at the Long Island City waterfront to talk about the importance of solar energy.
They were joined by EmPower Solar, a Long Island-based company that opened an office in the neighborhood just this month.
“Solar and batteries in Queens are going to transform the community,” said CEO David Schieren. “The incentives are among the best in the country, electricity costs are high, local officials support the industry, and the community has the collective desire to improve air quality for better public health.”
Currently, New York has more than 200,000 households powered by solar energy, and 9,000 workers in the industry, the coalition said. Advocates said reaching the 1 million mark would create jobs, lower utility bills and curb harmful air pollution.
“As we reduce our reliance on dirty fossil fuels, we also see the reality of renewable energy taking shape,” said Councilman Costa Constantinides, who chairs the City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection. “Solar energy is a big part of that and needs a robust support system to make Queens a greener, cleaner place to live.”
The Million Solar Strong Campaign has two roadmaps to achieve its goal, including policy recommendations such as fair customer compensation, facilitating affordable financing for solar growth and expanding access for low-income and underserved communities.
Tom Grech, president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber is excited about the growing presence of solar in the borough.
“As the largest geographic borough in New York City, Queens is ripe for greater development of solar power,” he said. “Having our member EmPower Solar open an office and have a direct presence in Queens County is a major step forward.”