Co-ops Go Solar Brings Affordable Renewable Energy to HDFC Co-ops


For more information about Co-ops Go Solar, click here



UHAB CONTACT: Clara Weinstein,, 212-479-3337

SOLAR ONE CONTACT: Anika Wistar-Jones,, 646-820-4664


LOWER EAST SIDE, NY--Community members and affordable co-op owners gathered this Wednesday at a Lower East Side HDFC co-op to tour the building’s solar array. The building is one of the first Housing Development Fund Corporation (HDFC) co-ops to install solar power through the Co-ops Go Solar campaign, a partnership between Solar One and the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) to bring solar power to HDFC limited-equity co-ops. Throughout their 25-year lifetime, the solar panels will save the building over $55,000. “The panels cover the building’s common electric costs,” said Dennis Phandler, a resident of the building for twenty years. “They power the water pump, the laundry room, the lights, and the intercom.”


The Co-ops Go Solar campaign is the first to focus solely on HDFCs and provides free technical assistance for renewable energy, including cost estimates, roof inspections, and financial incentives and funding options. Co-ops who sign on join a purchasing group to negotiate for lower prices. A previous campaign for Northern Manhattan by collaborators WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Solar One, and UHAB negotiated prices about 30% lower than the city average.


Traditionally, the benefits of solar power have been available to middle class single-family homes that can afford a large down payment. Thanks to energy efficiency incentives and loans, however, this is no longer the case. Low or no money down options include the solar loan, which is designed so that loan payments are always lower than  the money saved through electricity production and tax incentives; and the Power Purchase Agreement, an arrangement in which a third party owns and installs the solar panels on a co-op’s roof for free, and sells the co-op the electricity produced at a reduced rate. “Solar savings should be available to all New Yorkers,” said Solar One Program Manager, Anika Wistar-Jones. “We’re excited to be bringing affordable solar to affordable housing with this campaign.”


Solar panels are a long-lasting, renewable technology, and can be a valuable investment for affordable co-ops. Money not spent on electricity over the years can be used for vital building improvements or to keep down maintenance fees for low and middle income residents. “Solar panels are a great fit for HDFCs thinking about the future environmental impact and affordability of their building,” said Clara Weinstein of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board. “The deadline for our next purchasing group is November 15th, so there’s still time for HDFCs to take advantage of the campaign.”




The Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) is a New York City based nonprofit that provides support and services to low-income co-ops and renters across the city. Founded in 1973, UHAB is instrumental in guiding distressed rental buildings to become thriving co-ops under the ownership and maintenance of their residents. They empower low- to moderate-income residents to take control of their housing and enhance communities by creating strong tenant associations and lasting affordable co-ops. Today, UHAB continues to sustain affordable HDFC co-ops through technical assistance, training, and services including energy efficiency programs. Learn more at and follow us on Instagram.


Solar One is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower learning and innovation that result in a more sustainable and resilient urban environment.  Through the Here Comes Solar program, they facilitate solar adoption in traditionally hard-to-serve markets by providing comprehensive technical assistance to building owners and community groups. To date HCS has helped more than 250 buildings in the New York City area adopt solar power. Learn more at and