Co-ops Go Solar

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Our Impact

In the News

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Why solar?

In New York City households that spend over 6% of their yearly income on energy bills are defined as energy burdened. Like rent burden, energy burden has negative health and economic impacts on families, and low-income people of color tend to have the highest burdens.

Solar powered co-ops own their own source of renewable energy, which provides clean power for over twenty five years. The electric savings ease energy burden and allow residents to reinvest back into their buildings and communities, helping to maintain clean, efficient, deeply affordable housing. 

What we do

Co-ops Go Solar, a collaboration between nonprofits UHAB and Solar One, empowers low-income homeowners across New York City to access a sustainable and resilient future for their community-led affordable housing. We provide education, advisement, and support to navigate the adoption of renewable energy.

So far, 22 affordable co-ops have signed up for solar power across New York City. Collectively they’ll save over $4,500,000 in avoided electric bills and divert 9,500 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere over the panels’ 25 year lifetime.

If your HDFC co-op is considering solar, Co-ops Go Solar can help with every step of the process, from an initial costs and savings estimate to help selecting an installer and navigating permits and loans. We provide free technical assistance and training to buildings considering solar, and negotiate competitive pricing through a bulk purchasing program to secure a lower price.

Most solar arrays pay for themselves within 4 to 8 years and generate sizeable savings on electric bills. We can help suggest financing options and provide budgeting help, so your building can see savings from solar without purchasing the panels outright. There's no commitment; we're here to give you your options, regardless of if you decide to move forward. 

Fill out the survey or contact Clara at or (212) 479-3337 to get started!


The first building to adopt solar in New York City was Heartstone HDFC in the Lower East Side in the late 1970s. These panels were used to heat hot water, as opposed to today's photovoltaic panels, which create electricity.


How does solar power work?


Solar panels on your roof transform sunlight into energy that can be used to power your building.If you don’t produce enough electricity to power your common space, then you obtain that power from the utility grid. This means that when the sun isn’t shining at all, you are not generating your own electricity and will be getting your power from the grid. 

However, on a very sunny day you may produce more electricity than you use in your building. Most solar systems do not have a way to store electricity generated by their solar system to use later. This extra electricity will get delivered back to the utility grid and you will get credited for this electricity at the same retail price that you would pay for it. This is called net metering.

Why should my Co-op Go Solar?

  • Invest in a clean, renewable energy source! Solar panels help lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our collective dependence on fossil fuels (which are finite resources).
  • Solar can dramatically offset your building’s electrical bills. Plus, with city and state incentive funding to reduce the upfront costs, most solar panel systems for HDFC’s pay themselves off in 4-8 years.
  • The UHAB Solar campaign will negotiate competitive pricing from qualified local solar installation companies, making the process simple for you. The more of your neighbors that sign up, the lower the price is for everyone! We will provide free assistance with solar assessment, communicating with your board, and finding financing options and engaging a contractor. 



 Can’t pay for a system outright? Can’t put solar panels on your roof? You can still go solar with these financing options:

Power Purchase Agreement (PPA): In this partnership, solar company Co-op Power owns the system and you pay for the electricity generated, at a rate lower than your Con Edison rate. Since Co-op Power owns the system, they pay for the installation and take the federal tax credit but passes the electricity savings along to your HDFC. There is an option to buy after year ten.

Low-interest Loans: Various loans are available to assist HDFC co-ops to do repairs and rehabilitation, including energy efficiency projects such as a solar installation. Loan payments are designed to be less than the annual savings generated by the solar energy, so you will see net savings right away! We will work with your building to map out the life of a loan to determine whether it is a good choice for your co-op, and help you apply for the one that best suits your needs!

Community Shared Solar:

Until now the only way to save money with solar in NYC was to install solar panels on your own roof. But Community Shared Solar makes it possible for New Yorkers like you to join solar energy systems on warehouse roofs anywhere in the city, and reduce your Con Edison electricity bill by purchasing solar energy credits generated by the system. 

Through a partnership between DAROGA and Solar One,  individual  apartments can subscribe to the electricity generated by a large solar installation being built in the city.  You will receive credits to your Con Edison bill based on the amount of energy produced by your portion of the solar array, and DAROGA will charge you 90% of Con Ed’s electricity rate for that power. You will save on your electricity bill, and support the increased use of clean solar energy in our city!


Our Impact



This map shows the twenty two affordable co-ops that have signed up for solar power around New York City. 

Together, the panels will keep 9,500 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere over their lifetimes, while saving low- and moderate-income residents $4,566,071.


"For me, it has been magnificent. It has been a huge help. Above all in this neighborhood when a lot of the time the programs go somewhere else, and here in the South Bronx not much comes to us. It has been a great satisfaction for us, and we give thanks to UHAB, Solar One, that you have volunteered and worked on this. The help that you gave us and the orientation, it was clear, it was precise, and thank God that we are in the program, and we hope that everything continues positive and that we can install this by the end of the year."


–Armando, shareholder and soon-to-be owner of a 33 kW-DC solar system





In The News


Go Solar Helps Buildings Plug Into Sun For Power

The Villager - November 16, 2018 - "This October, Pfandler’s building at E. Second St. and Avenue C finally was finally able to plug into sun power through the Co-ops Go Solar campaign. The effort is a partnership between two nonprofits, the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and Solar One, to provide housing development fund corporation (H.D.F.C.) cooperatives with technical assistance to retrofit buildings with solar panels." Read More.

Harnessing The Sun to Power Equitable Development in NYC

Next City - November 7, 2018 - "Solar One recently launched the “Co-ops Go Solar” campaign in partnership with the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, a nonprofit that supports residents to form and maintain co-op buildings. The campaign provides free technical assistance, cost estimates, roof inspections, financial incentives and funding options to install solar panels on limited-equity cooperatives — a particular form of co-op subsidized by the city to make homeownership available for low-income households. Co-ops that sign-on join a purchasing group to negotiate for lower prices." Read More.

Here’s a Smart Solar Installation Program for Affordable Housing You Should Copy

Solar Builder - December 6, 2018 - “Our joint partnership through SUN has provided education, free technical assistance, and financing options for HDFC co-ops, empowering residents to make informed decisions about if and how to use renewable energy for themselves,” said Sasha Hill, UHAB Project Associate. “When residents get power to make decisions, you can expect outcomes like this: a focus on continued affordability and sustainability for the future.” Read More.

Affordable Solar Comes to Affordable Co-ops

Habitat Magazine - April 4, 2018 -  “'In the fall of 2016 we hosted a series of training sessions for shareholders and board members through UHAB (Urban Homesteading Assistance Board),' Heckler recalls. 'One session was about energy efficiency. Two technical consultants came to a training session, and they talked our building through what it would look like to do this project. It seemed feasible for us to go solar.' Income from the co-op’s flip tax was crucial." Read More.

Affordable Housing Solar Project (Video)