Schenectady will receive $1 million to retrofit homes with green technology

SCHENECTADY — The city will move forward with a program that would retrofit low- and middle-income homes with green technology after receiving $1 million as part of the federal government’s end-of-year appropriations bill.

Plans for the so-called Schenectady Community Virtual Power Plant were presented in may and are expected to move into the new year after some details are ironed out, Mayor Gary McCarthy said Monday.

The program will equip low- and middle-income households with green technology such as solar panels, battery storage systems, and machine learning technology that will track how and when energy is used in the home and determine when to store and sell energy. The city will partner with EcoLONG, an Albany-based renewable energy company.

The goal of the new program is to create a network of homes equipped with technology to capture and store energy, monitor their overall use, and autonomously determine when to sell power back to the grid, reducing overall energy costs.

In the spring, officials said the program would complement the city’s Home Ownership Made Easy, or HOMES, program, which was created more than a decade ago as a way to reduce blight and increase homeownership by recycling waste. salvageable homes lied for taxes, but McCarthy said the partners are still being investigated.

“This will help us in terms of housing affordability and environmental sustainability, and will continue to build on the Smart City platform that we have in the city,” McCarthy said, referring to efforts to extend public Wi-Fi and other technology throughout the city in the last years.

Funding for the program was included as part of the $1.7 trillion federal appropriation bill recently passed by Congress and is expected to be signed into law by President Joseph Biden in the coming days. The legislation will keep the federal government running until the end of next year.

US Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, included the program as part of his community development and improvement package that included 14 other projects totaling $12.8 million. Each member of Congress may submit a bill package for funding consideration.

All 15 projects Tonko introduced were included in the spending bill, including $1.5 million for the Schenectady Community Action Program to build transitional housing at its Albany Street campus, and $2.3 million for RISE. Housing and Support Services of Saratoga Springs to help people living with mental health issues. and substance use disorders.

Other projects receiving funding included $650,000 for improvements to the Esperanza Verde Park in Amsterdam and $469,333 to create a business incubator at the Amsterdam Free Library.

“Community projects in our Capital Region hold incredible promise for our communities with key investments that will drive economic growth, create good jobs and boost our Capital Region,” Tonko said in a statement.

McCarthy said it was unclear how many homes could be retrofitted with the technology, noting ongoing issues related to inflation and supply chains, but noted that he plans to work with the City Council to fund the program using federal coronavirus relief funds. . the city received as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.

The city is currently in the process of finalizing contracts for more than a dozen projects that received nearly $25 million in ARPA funding earlier this year. The city has about $8 million left in funds to allocate.

“We are still working with the City Council to allocate some of that money,” McCarthy said.

Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] or by calling 518-395-3120.

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