Maloney Introduces Public Housing Solar Equity Act
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) today introduced the Public Housing Solar Equity Act, legislation to ensure that when a public housing authority (PHA), such as NYCHA, sells or leases assets to private companies for the installation of solar panels, residents’ needs come first.
This bill will ensure that when a PHA considers selling or leasing any of its assets for solar energy projects it must financially benefit its residents and the relevant authority, and exhaust those benefits before any company is able to sell the benefits from the project for a profit.
“As we see the use of solar energy increasing, it’s clear that public housing authority roofs are going to become a hot commodity. I want to make sure that when these spaces are leased or sold, that the benefit of this solar energy is first given to the residents of those buildings. Any use of public housing authority land or buildings should benefit the people these properties were set aside for, not private companies.”
- In 2015, Congresswoman Maloney and the New York delegation secured $27 million in federal funding to support a comprehensive roof replacement plan for NYCHA’s public housing properties. The federal funds helped replace the roofs of 26 NYCHA residential buildings, enabling private companies to strike deals with public housing authorities to install solar panels.
- In the face of the large capital needs backlogs for public housing across the country, some have proposed the sale and lease of assets owned by public housing authorities to bring in an injection of funding. There are concerns that residents won’t actually see benefits of any such deals.
- This bill will ensure that when a public housing authority sells or leases any of its assets in connection with solar energy projects, it financially benefits those public housing residents and the relevant authority, and exhausts those benefits before the private company is able to sell or offer derivative services to the rest of the market for a profit.
- For example, if a public housing authority leases space in a housing development for solar panels to a private company, this bill will ensure that the energy generated is offered to all tenants in that development and the authority, before it can sell any remaining energy generated to the rest of the non-resident market.
- This bill will also ensure that a housing authority provides documentation before selling or leasing any asset in connection with solar energy projects, that shows in quantifiable terms how that sale or lease will financially benefit the residents or the authority’s budget. The housing authorities must demonstrate these benefits by providing the actual dollar figures of the transaction and its own cost-benefit analysis.