Since 2014, NeighborWorks® Rochester’s Healthy Blocks Initiative has been active in The Triangle neighborhood of North Winton Village, working to improve property conditions, neighborhood image, and resident engagement. Part of the work of Healthy Blocks has been focused on making the neighborhood greener through various projects: tree plantings, clean sweeps, free home energy assessments through Green Jobs/Green New York, connecting residents with loans and grants for energy improvements through New York State’s EMPOWER and Assisted Home Performance programs, and more!
NeighborWorks® Rochester collaborated with the Rochester Area Community Foundation, NeighborWorks® America, and GRID Alternatives to fund and implement five free rooftop solar installations to low-to-moderate-income families in the City of Rochester. This pilot program, the first of its kind in Rochester, also included workforce development portion, where students in community college solar programs participated in the installation of the panels and earn a certificate that indicates real job experience to potential employers. Using this model, the first two installations were completed on City homes in November of 2015.
At the close of 2016, NeighborWorks® Rochester celebrated the third installation—on a home in its very own Healthy Blocks neighborhood! The Boswell family received their 10 solar panels on December 21st from installers they describe as efficient and professional. The panels, which have a lifespan of 20 years, will save the Boswells $40/month in utility bills. Combined with the energy-efficiency improvements they received through the EMPOWER program, their monthly bill will be significantly lowered, helping both the environment and their bottom line. “I never thought this could happen,” says Julie. “I never would have thought this was an option if NeighborWorks® hadn’t reached out to us.”
GRID Alternatives completed the remaining two low-mod solar installations in early 2017.