ACCESSolar: Accelerating Community-Empowered Shared Solar

The New York City Housing Authority seeks teams to develop community solar projects on its properties that benefit NYCHA residents and other Low- and Moderate-Income (LMI) households within the City.

As part of its Sustainability Agenda, the New York City Housing Authority has committed to siting 30 megawatts (MW) of clean energy capacity with solar power on its properties by 2026. NYCHA is also making suitable sites available through this ACCESSolar Solicitation.

Development rooftops made available through this ACCESSolar Solicitation are expected to be viable for community solar installation; in particular, their roofs have been recently replaced, and leases at these sites are not currently expected to conflict with other Authority initiatives. The list of sites available under this ACCESSolar Solicitation is available here.

Projects will be developed as community solar systems: installations will generate power using their own meters (not through a NYCHA meter) and the output will be shared among multiple subscribers. Due to the rates and regulations under which NYCHA purchases its electricity, NYCHA cannot enter into power purchase agreements (PPA) or otherwise purchase electricity under this Solicitation. NYCHA will act as a host for solar installations only.

With this program, NYCHA’s goals are to:

  • Maximize its portfolio’s potential to support solar generation, therefore reducing greenhouse gas emissions in New York City and contributing to the City’s 80x50 goal;

  • Open business opportunities for small-scale solar developers, startups, and minority- and women-owned and small business enterprises (MWSBEs) in the solar industry;

  • Help build capacity for community-based organizations to form relationships with solar developers;

  • Provide green jobs to NYCHA residents; and

  • Expand access to solar energy for LMI communities, including NYCHA residents who pay their own utility bills.

NYCHA expects these program goals to be achieved through partnerships between solar developers, installers, and community-based organizations (CBOs).

Interested teams should begin by reading through the ACCESSolar Solicitation and the list of sites available under this solicitation to understand all requirements, deadlines, and other project information. Applicants can then submit questions and request additional materials via email to Q&A responses will be posted publicly: please see the first round of Q&A here. Below are key dates for information sessions and site visits. We highly recommend interested teams attend the online Pre-Submission Webinar and site visits.

Once all information sessions, site visits, and Q&A releases have been completed, teams will be invited to submit their full proposals. These proposals will detail the solar capacity to be installed, a plan to hire NYCHA residents with quantitative commitments, and a commitment on the percentage of the power generated that will be reserved for LMI households. Applicants must also commit to making some amount of lease payments to NYCHA, in order to ensure that all residents of the developments where solar will be sited can realize a benefit from the installation.

Teams awarded sites under the ACCESSolar Program will then have the opportunity to negotiate a final Lease Agreement with NYCHA, as well as to conduct more detailed pre-development site visits and, if required by site conditions, adjust and finalize proposals. Successful teams will be expected to finalize their lease with NYCHA within six months.

Key Dates:

  • July 17, 2023 (Update): Proposal Submission Deadline (Deadline is now extended - see Addendum B)

  • Mid-September: Estimated Award Date

  • 2-6 months: Lease negotiations, site visits, and proposal finalization with selected team(s)

  • 12-24 months: Install the solar systems on NYCHA buildings per agreement(s)