In 2003, Community Environmental Center founded Solar One, the City’s first solar-powered “Green Energy, Arts, and Education Center.” Inspiring New Yorkers to become environmentally responsible city dwellers, Solar One creates unique programs that connect people to the urban environment around them. Solar One provides programs for schools; job training programs; and outreach and cultural programs, while also maintaining one of New York’s most distinctive public spaces at Stuyvesant Cove Park.
Since its inception in 2004, the Solar One education program has brought its innovative approach to students in all five boroughs, serving more than 25,000 students at more than 150 schools, afterschool and summer camp programs. Solar One provides short-term enrichment classes focused on energy, design and the East River estuary and has also developed long-term programs like the Green Design Lab, which uses a school building itself as a teaching tool for students and teachers alike. .
For several years, Solar One built programs with job training components. Beginning in 2009, Solar One began to focus on developing a program focused solely on training people for jobs in the emerging green economy. Today, Solar One runs a robust program with over a dozen workforce agency partners, covering skills such as Solar (PV) installation, energy efficiency and Weatherizaton, carpentry, plumbing and more.
Over the years, Solar One has utilized a variety of outreach programs and strategies on an array of topics. Today, much of Solar One’s focus is on buildings and building owners, through the Energy Connections program. Solar One also conducts tenant training and outreach in buildings undergoing renovation.
Solar One’s Green Arts programming creates a new approach to learning about green energy and conservation. The Green Energy Arts Festival is an annual series of events that attract diverse audience members who might not otherwise attend a “green” event. Each year during the spring, summer and fall, Solar One offer a variety of free, public programs and events, like our Solar-Powered Dance and Film Series, the Sun To Stars festival, Family Days, musical performances, and more.
Stuyvesant Cove Park
The Solar One building is located at the north end of Stuyvesant Cove Park, the city’s only all-native plant park. Situated on a brownfield site, Stuy Cove Park offers opportunities for the local community to become involved in the park and learn about its special features. The National Wildlife Federation has designated Stuy Cove a Wildlife Habitat by virtue of its high standards of conscientious planning, landscaping and sustainable gardening. More than 250 volunteers and 80 student interns have spent more than 5,000 hours working in the park, planting, watering, and weeding the thousands of new plants that have been added over the years.
In 2012, Solar One hopes to break ground for SOLAR 2, an 8,000-square-foot, 100 percent green-powered education-and-arts center that is slated to be New York’s first Platinum LEED educational facility. SOLAR 2 is designed by the renowned green architecture firm Kiss & Cathcart, and engineered by the equally prestigious firm of Arup. For more information about SOLAR 2, click here.