Solar energy, once widely criticized as expensive and inefficient, is catching on with cities across the country thanks to innovative programs and the growing appeal of alternative energy.
Solar Mosaic, the city of Oakland’s “crowdfunding” program, sells solar tiles to residents for $100 each. The city hopes that the program will create a solar array on the roofs of budget-strapped schools, youth centers and churches. These arrays will allow Oakland’s residents to generate energy savings and scale back fossil fuel emissions without having to spend thousands on personal solar arrays.
“There is this huge gap between the population that wants to go solar and the people that actually have,” Billy Parish, president of Solar Mosaic, told SolveClimate News. “We saw an opportunity to connect those dots.”
The project is expected to attract green-collar workers to the city, which struggles from having some of California’s highest crime rates and 17.5% of its population living below the poverty line.
On the other side of the country, Mayor Bloomberg of New York City plans to put the city’s sealed landfills to good use. On Thursday, he announced that he will build solar plants over sealed landfills that could generate power for over 50,000 homes. The construction of solar plants is only part of the city’s PlaNYC project, which includes providing low-cost financing to business owners who conserve energy, planting trees and rooftop gardens and using hybrid vehicles.
“PlaNYC is our agenda for a greener, greater New York that will help guide our city to a better future,” Mayor Bloomberg told the New York Daily News.
Solar energy’s lack of emissions and relative convenience makes it appealing to many cities hoping to save energy, reduce air pollution and attract jobs.