State Senator Parker and Assemblymember Walker joined activists to discuss the future on solar energy in NY. Photo courtesy Office of State Senator Kevin Parker.

On Tuesday, State Senator Kevin Parker and Assemblymember Latrice Walker joined solar energy advocates for a town hall at Brooklyn Botanical Garden to discuss the benefits of solar energy, how to create and implement solar policy, and how residents of all income levels can participate.

The town hall was organized by the Million Solar Strong Campaign, a coalition of industry, environmental, clean energy and community organizations. The group emphasized that the emerging solar industry will create local jobs, save New Yorkers on utility bills, increase economic investment while cutting harmful air pollution. Parker, who is the ranking member of the State Senate’s Energy and Telecommunications Committee, expressed his support.

“The ability for us to reduce our carbon footprint and reliance on outdated energy sources, while creating good-paying jobs and spurring the green collar economy is a win-win for our communities,” said Parker.

The Million Solar Strong coalition launched earlier this year with the goal of powering one million New York homes with solar, including 100,000 low-income households, by 2023. Currently, 206,100 NY homes are powered by solar energy. Now, the group is calling on Governor Cuomo to institute and support concrete policies to reach its 2023 goal.

“In an era without federal leadership, Governor Cuomo has made major steps to move New York in the right direction on climate and clean energy,” states Million Solar Strong on its website. “But the attacks on climate and economic progress call for bold and urgent efforts to accelerate our transition to clean power. And while many New Yorkers have tapped into the benefits of clean energy, many more need access. Our communities can’t wait for visionary action.”

The coalition has released two roadmaps outlining policy recommendations which include affordable financing options for solar growth, as well as ensuring access for low-income, environmental justice and other underserved communities.

“The Solar Strong program is an important component in the journey to the state’s Clean Energy Standard,” said Walker. “As the chair of the Subcommittee on Renewable Energy, I’m constantly advocating for the retrofit of solar panels for all communities. It just makes sense. The installation of solar panels lowers resident’s energy bill yet simultaneously reduces their carbon footprint.”

To learn more about the campaign, go here.

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