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Akwesasne Housing Authority Showcases Go Solar Initiative


On May 10, 2018, Akwesasne Housing Authority Executive Director Retha Herne held a launch meeting to showcase an new Initiative funded through various stakeholders. They are hoping to build a program that is accessible for low-income housing. The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe has set aside 25 acres of ground mounter for the solar development project. The Go Solar! Initiative is set to occupy 8-10 acres of land for the Solar Farms; while the remaining land will be reserved for any future solar development projects from the Tribe.

Herne said that they are currently “working to make member subscriptions as low as possible” when she was asked about the pricing and billing for solar power. She explained further that this subscription will be handled with National Grid and Community Solar Credit, as a way to reduce the utility bill. While details have yet to be ironed out, Herne says that any subscriber will receive an additional monthly invoice from the AHA that bills the subscriber the Community Solar Credit. Again these subscription plans are still in development and will be based on a home’s income.

What can the community expect from this project once it’s finished? While nothing has started just yet, the expected outcomes include more jobs for development, installation, programing, maintenance, and supervision. Environmentally, the project would help reduce greenhouse gases by reducing a household’s need for fossil fuels, this includes gas emission.

Of course the ultimate goal for both the Saint Regis Tribe and the Housing authority is to become self-sufficient with energy. However there is still a lot of planning and work involved before that plan can happen. What the Housing Authority has already completed is putting in requests for funding through Solar Contractors and Tax Investors. They already have ConEdision Development as the tax investors and SunVest Solar as the contractors who are ready and willing to begin building and helping with the project. Along with National Grid and the ConEdision, they hope to keep the energy bill as low and affordable as possible for every member of the community.

Herne said that the building will begin this year and will conclude in 2019. This will include many measures to ensure that low-income housing can receive significant amount of energy for a reasonable price. The Akwesasne Housing Authority hopes that this project will benefit everyone. Even in the attendance of the community, everyone seemed open to the idea. Yet there were still concerns about the price for the energy bills. But representatives from ConEdison ensured that these concerns were not to be an issue as that process is still being worked out. Construction will begin this year and the Housing Authority has high hopes for everything to fall into place.


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