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Renewable energy projects to begin on West Side

Ashley Hirtzel

PUSH Buffalo announced three renewable energy projects on the city’s West Side Thursday. The New York Regional Economic Development Council awarded $902,980 for the projects from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

PUSH Executive Director Aaron Bartley says the Community Sustainability Initiative will provide a number of benefits to the Massachusetts Avenue neighborhood, including affordable energy options for residents and reducing the community’s carbon footprint.

“We see year after year people being cut-off when HEAP runs out. We see people getting their lights turned off and that destabilizes families to the point where their daily routines are disrupted. So, for us it’s about correcting that injustice, but also about bringing a community together to show that we can produce our own energy and don’t have to be reliant on these big corporations,” said Bartley.

The funds will also used for PUSH’s Community Solar Aggregation Project that will build on the Green Jobs/Green NY program by creating local green jobs and install 250 photovoltaic solar panels in low-income communities across Western New York. Bartley says many city residents will be offered affordable solar options as part the initiative.

Buffalo Common Councilmember David Rivera lives on the West Side. He says the renewable energy project will add to the area’s revitalization.

“After many years of blight, disinvestment, and being one of the areas that has a high concentration of people living below the poverty line, it’s very important. People have to make decisions between paying the bills and their energy costs. So, this is very important to them if we can reduce the energy costs,” said Rivera.

The Wash Project is receiving new solar panels. Barrett Gordon helps operate the Laundromat that also serves as a neighborhood gathering place.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this project and completely honored,” said Gordon.     

Gordon says the project is good for the community. PUSH Buffalo is working with Solar Liberty for the panel installations across the region.