The application period for Solarize NYC, Round 2 is closed. Now, Solarize NYC community applications can be submitted at any time and will be reviewed on a rolling basis. There is no deadline.
Any community may apply to form a Solarize NYC campaign, but it is strongly recommended that Community applicants contact the Solarize NYC team at Sustainable CUNY and/or attend a public information session prior to applying. Applications will be evaluated based on four selection criteria, and will be assigned a cumulative score on a scale of 100 points by the Selection Committee. In completing the application be sure to refer to the selection criteria to help guide your responses.
Communities considering applying can view resources about the program, including FAQ. A recorded public information webinar held in September about Solarize NYC and the community application process can be seen here.
The application has three components: 1) the application form, 2) Spending Plan, and 3) a Certification and Release Form. All three parts of the application must be completed and submitted electronically through the website. The application form will indicate at what point applicants must upload the Spending Plan and the Certification and Release Form. Applicants will be able to save their work and resume filling out the application. However please note that files that are uploaded to the form will NOT be saved through the Save and Resume function until the form is submitted to the database. Applicants should not upload files until they are ready to submit.
Solarize NYC Selection Criteria
CRITERION 1: COMMUNITY INTEREST AND IDENTIFICATION (10/100)
Preference will be given to applicants representing communities that indicate a high level of interest in solar. To demonstrate this interest, the NYC Solar Partnership recommends conducting an informal survey or sign-up drive. In the community description, explain how this solar interest was confirmed. Previous Solarize projects have found that success is correlated to the participation of members that self-identify as being part of a community. If the target community is characterized by self-identification (in contrast to a geographic area or membership organization), please make that clear in the community description.
The NYC Solar Partnership encourages the applicant to use the following parameters when describing their targeted “community”:
- Geographic region (within neighborhood boundaries, community district boundaries, block association boundaries, affinity group membership recruitment area or residency requirements); and/or
- Shared characteristics (cooperatives, affinity groups, houses of worship, block associations, non-profit and advocacy organizations, business improvement districts, geographic proximity, public knowledge of community boundaries and membership); and/or
- Solar market segment (homeowners, low- and moderate-income homeowners, small commercial businesses, large commercial or industrial businesses, tax-exempt organizations); and/or
- Building type (single-family, multi-family, historical landmark, brownstones, detached homes, warehouses and industrial property, commercial property); and/or
- Access to undeveloped land (community land trusts, privately-owned)
CRITERION 2: ORGANIZATIONAL CAPACITY (40/100)
Preference will be given to applicants that indicate they have the necessary organizational and outreach capacity to reach a significant percentage of community members. The percentage of community members that can be reached effectively by the applicant will impact the criterion score.
The Partnership recommends that a community have at least two volunteers, one of whom must be a designated program manager, who can each dedicate at least three to five hours per week over the life of the campaign. A program manager manages the campaign, and although project management experience is beneficial it would not be mandatory. The Solar Partnership also recommends that applicants outline the roles of core volunteers, as well as a plan for recruiting additional volunteers. Running successful Solarize campaigns takes significant effort on the part of applicants. To ensure successful campaigns, the Partnership encourages geographic or locational communities to focus on a small target area such as a neighborhood. Affinity groups can be larger if tools, such as email lists and community meet-ups, are available for outreach. If a larger geographic area is targeted, the Partnership recommends having multiple partner organizations with established relationships with the community before the project is selected. Larger geographically defined campaigns should have at least three partner organizations that can assist with outreach and other activities. Letters of support from partner organizations are strongly encouraged and should be submitted with the full community application.
CRITERION 3: FEASIBILITY (30/100)
The duration of Solarize NYC campaigns is typically 16 weeks (the time from Community selection to the contract signing deadline for community members is typically 8-9 months). Preference will be given to applicants that present a clear framework for implementation through a project plan within this timeline. The project plan should show the process for streamlining tasks and managing risks in implementation. There should be a clearly identified contact and procedure for making project management decisions. The project plan should also explain how communication between stakeholders such as community members, installers, lenders and the NYC Solar Partnership, etc. will be managed in attaining project goals. Project goals must be specific and measurable. These goals could include metrics such as:
- Total number of solar installations
- Installed capacity of solar power (kilowatts)
- Total number of sites assessed for solar viability
- Total number or percentage of community members educated about solar at workshops
- Expanded access to solar or education for community members who have historically had limited access to solar
Goals should be broken down into manageable steps such as milestones and tasks, which will be assessed in the selection process based on the proposed organizational resources.
Solarize NYC will provide financial assistance for community engagement and outreach activities. Cash grants for up to $20,000 will be awarded to the selected community or communities. The applicant must disclose how cash grants will be maximized for conducting community engagement and outreach (see template for spending plan), which must be included as part of the work plan. Applicants must retain documentation of all expenses, and The City University of New York retains the right to audit applicant’s records and documentation of expenses. The grant will be distributed by completed deliverable, and the amount of grant payments will based on reported expenses. Please note if an applicant is unable to enter into a legal agreement and does not have a bank account, the applicant is eligible to receive technical assistance in addition to marketing materials purchased by Sustainable CUNY but would not be eligible to receive cash grants.
CRITERION 4: EXPANDING SOLAR ACCESS (20/100)
Preference will be given to applicants that have clearly identified segments of their communities that have traditionally lacked access to solar, and generated a plan for reaching these community segments. Include any specific marketing and outreach strategies and/or partner organizations that will assist in reaching those who have historically lacked access to solar. These may include but are not limited to:
- Low-to-moderate income members
- Members that own buildings not structurally suited for solar
- Members lacking sufficient credit for solar
- Members who reside in multifamily buildings
- Members in areas with above-average solar prices