Kingston launches Community Solar Campaign

The City of Kingston is partnering with Ulster County, Solarize Ulster and the Climate Smart Kingston Commission on a community solar campaign. Presented at the Climate Smart Kingston Commission meeting on Wednesday, June 23, the Solarize Kingston Campaign allows anyone with a utility bill to support local renewable generation of electricity and reduce their electric bills by 10 percent, with no upfront costs or monthly fees.

“Through the community solar campaign, anyone who pays an electricity bill can receive credits,” said Kingston mayor Steve Noble. “These monetary credits are generated by local solar arrays whenever the sun is shining. Credits are applied directly to the account-holder’s utility bill. There is no initial cost or monthly fee. The subscription directly supports clean, renewable energy resources and saves our residents money without having to install costly solar panels on your home or property. Often sustainability resources are not available to all, for a variety of accessibility reasons. By tapping into a larger array of solar panels, we are able to extend this opportunity to more of the community and create a much more equitable resource for renters and all those who are interested in renewable energy.”

“When you pay your electricity bill, a portion of that cost goes into the pocket of the fossil fuel industry,” said Ellie Gartenstein, City of Kingston environmental specialist. “Community solar is a way to make sure our dollars are going towards clean energy production, and not coal-burning, natural-gas-drilling and other unsustainable methods. The Community Solar programs help transform our utility grid and expand solar infrastructure all across the region. It is a simple and effective way for anyone who pays an electric bill, including renters, to participate in solar power projects.”

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The amount of credits to the account-holder’s electric bill will vary from month to month. Since solar generates more electricity in the summer, more credits will be logged in the summer months. If more credits are earned than can be used in a given month, the utility will roll over credits for use in subsequent months. Costs and credits typically balance out over the course of the year.

According to Noble, Ulster County has selected three partners for participants to choose from: Solstice, CommonEnergy and PowerMarket. Each partner will donate $100 to Ulster County’s Green New Deal fund with each subscription. This fund will be used to create more Green New Deal community programs.

For additional information, visit www.kingston-ny.gov/solarizekingston.