In Sunset Park, a waterfront neighborhood in central Brooklyn, nearly 30% of residents live below the poverty line. The neighborhood has dealt with a history of environmental burdens, particularly due to an expressway that runs above one of its main streets. For residents, high energy costs compound the air quality concerns produced by passing traffic and the presence of three nearby fossil fuel plants. A new initiative, though, is working to bring renewable energy to the neighborhood–and following a cooperative ownership model that’s helped stabilize energy prices in rural America.
[O]n the roof of the Brooklyn Army Terminal–a decommissioned army building now owned and being redeveloped by the NYC Economic Development Corporation as a local business hub–a partnership between NYCEDC, the nonprofit Solar One, the cooperative financing agency Co-op Power, and the local environmental advocacy group Uprose is creating a, 80,000-square-foot solar garden. Once completed, it will be one of the first examples of a cooperatively owned urban power supply, and potentially a model for other city coalitions to follow when looking for mutually beneficial ways to repurpose public rooftops as communal solar energy sources.
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