Here is another article about things going on around Rochester.
On June 2, Rochester’s Flower City Habitat for Humanity passed an important milestone: the organization installed solar panels on a home for only the second time in the group’s history.
The nonprofit’s Rochester group of construction workers finished the installation at a home on Murray Street last Tuesday. The group says that the added solar power will reduce the resident’s monthly energy bills. The residential photo-voltaic panels were donated to Habitat for Humanity by O’Connell Electric, which also assisted with the installation.
The Murray Street home is part of an ongoing Habitat for Humanity project wherein future homeowners are invited to participate during the construction process, learning vital trade skills in the process.
In 2014, solar power accounted for half of all new power generation in the U.S., and so far employment in the industry has shot up 20% this year, according to the Solar Foundation.
Habitat for Humanity’s recent installation is one small part of a solar power boom in Upstate New York. In nearby Buffalo, a green energy company called SolarCity is building a massive solar panel factory in South Buffalo. The million-square-foot facility will employ at least 1,400 people, while also creating an equal number of support jobs for workers who service the factory. SolarCity was founded by Silicon Valley celebrity Elon Musk, who also runs Tesla and SpaceX.
Ashlee Vance, the author of a book about Musk, says SolarCity is a sign that the entrepreneur is “putting down roots in New York” and investing in the region’s solar industry.
Rochester has lagged behind other New York cities in solar installations because of a wrong (but persistent) belief that the city’s climate makes solar energy impractical. As the price of solar panels drops, solar installers are working to change that misconception.
“We’ve seen a huge uptick in interest,” said Kevin Schulte, president of Sustainable Energy Developments in April. “We had our largest solar installation year by 500 or 600 percent compared to recent years.”