FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2023
City of Kingston Receives U.S. Energy Department’s Solar Energy Award
KINGSTON, NY – Mayor Steven T. Noble is pleased to announce that the City of Kingston has received a Bronze designation from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SolSmart program for encouraging the growth of clean, affordable solar energy at the local level.
Local governments achieve SolSmart designation by meeting established criteria that are based on national best practices for building solar-friendly communities. Those that meet the criteria are designated SolSmart Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze. To achieve SolSmart Bronze designation, Kingston has posted an online checklist detailing the permitting process for residential rooftop solar and has reviewed local zoning requirements and identified restrictions that intentionally or unintentionally prohibit solar energy development. These and other actions will make it faster, easier, and more affordable for residents, businesses, and nonprofit organizations to install solar in this community.
“We are pleased to receive this designation from the SolSmart team, which recognizes our commitment to sustainable energy,” said Mayor Noble. “As we move our City fleet to electric, and modernize our municipal facilities with energy efficient systems, we know we need to be doing all we can to advance alternative energy sources to compliment this work and are proud to be recognized for our contributions on the City level.”
“In order for us to truly transition off fossil fuels in a meaningful way, we need to walk the walk with our municipal operations but also make the transition as seamless as possible by removing barriers for the community wherever we can as city government. This award demonstrates that we are a leader in doing just that,” said Julie Noble, City of Kingston Environmental Education and Sustainability Coordinator.
A cornerstone of the SolSmart program is to provide equitable opportunities for underserved communities to access the benefits of solar energy, advancing the goals of the federal Justice40 initiative. In 2022, the City of Kingston established Kingston Community Energy (KCE), a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program in partnership with Mid-Hudson Energy Transition. A key part of Kingston’s CCA is making renewable energy more accessible to all demographics of Kingston, including the underserved communities. KCE is currently working to establish community solar opportunities, in partnership with PowerMarket, at reduced rates, so that the City can facilitate the transition off fossil fuels without increasing the energy burdens of constituents.
In 2019, the City of Kingston hired Cadmus and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop a long-term roadmap for the City to achieve 100% renewable and resilient community-wide electricity supply, and main tenets of this roadmap include scaling solar generation. The City also participates in two local Community Solar Projects for a portion of our municipal accounts, the Pointe Kingston Community Solar and the Community Solar Array at 241 Albany Avenue through Radio Kingston. Further, the City has three municipal solar arrays installed on municipal facilities: two at the Forsyth Nature Center, and a 49kW system at the Andy Murphy Neighborhood Center, with additional municipal installations planned for Fall of 2023.
Find out more about Kingston’s solar initiatives at www.kingston-ny.gov/solar. More information about Kingston’s commitment to clean energy can be found at www.kingston-ny.gov/energy.
SolSmart is led by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. Nearly 500 cities, towns, counties, and regional organizations have achieved SolSmart designation since the program launched in 2016.
The City of Kingston is a leader in efforts to create a more energy-efficient and sustainable community. Kingston has taken a comprehensive approach to building a city that is equipped to meet modern challenges and embrace 21st century opportunities. The Sustainability Office manages the City’s environmental projects, initiatives, and programming, including energy, land use, climate adaptation and resiliency, transportation, recycling and environmental education. Current projects include Community Choice Aggregation, Organics Diversion, Community Preservation Planning, Waterfront Flooding Resiliency, Building Decarbonization and more. More information about the City of Kingston’s sustainability efforts at https://kingston-ny.gov/sustainability.