Hommocks Community Solar: A Community Saver

Over the summer, Hommocks Middle School installed solar panels on the roof of its ice rink for community use.

Solar panels on top of the Hommocks Ice Rink.

Photo Courtesy of Sustainable Westchester

Solar panels on top of the Hommocks Ice Rink.

Leah Brody, News Page Editor

Solar is hot! Solar energy is an up-and-coming renewable energy source that generates over 242,000 jobs and is currently one of the fastest-growing industries in America, according to Solstice US. Solar power harnesses energy from the sun using solar panels and, unlike other forms of energy such as coal or oil, doesn’t release any carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Excess carbon dioxide happens to be one of the main reasons for global warming as well. The push for ‘clean energy’–energy with zero emissions–is strong, and so, to incentivize the buildout of solar, the Solar Energies Technology Office of the United States Department of Energy has been funding community solar parks, including one at Hommocks Middle School.
Community solar parks have been popping up around the country. They let consumers buy solar power that comes from a nearby solar project in the community for personal use (to power their home, their car, etc.). For any Larchmont or Mamaroneck resident, this nearby solar project would be the Hommocks solar project–a 484kW solar panel installation that was recently completed on top of the Hommocks Ice Rink.This project produces about 100x as much energy as an individual households’ solar panels. All residents who utilize this energy source will save 10% on their regular ConEd bills. The project is projected to generate 550,678 kWh annually, which translates to approximately 43,504 gallons of gas avoided, and 482 acres of forest saved.
Hommocks Park Community Solar invites interested energy consumers to visit their website to see how they can save money on their electric bill. It is easy to navigate, with a sign-up and registration form readily available. Those who sign up will be granted access to a dashboard showing the overall energy production of the Hommocks park, as well as personal energy finances.
For now, there is a two-step billing process where consumers get utility bills with renewable energy credits and then pay for those credits at a discount. This can be set up to pay automatically.
There is a larger significance to this project. President Biden’s administration has recently outlined how solar energy could be powering half the country by 2050. As it currently provides only 4% of the United States’ consumed energy, this is an impressive goal. Through the Hommocks Park Community Solar project, the Larchmont-Mamaroneck community is doing its part to fight global warming and promote clean energy.