Solar roof
Solar panels on the rooftop of the renovated School 77. (Photo: Courtesy of PUSH Buffalo)

In Buffalo, New York, a large vacant school is being put to an unusual new use.

Public School 77 closed twelve years ago. Now, it’s been reopened with office space, a theater company, a community gymnasium, and thirty affordable apartments for low-income seniors.

On the roof of the building, solar panels provide affordable, clean electricity. It’s the first community solar project in the state to offer low-cost solar exclusively to low-income subscribers.

Ghirmatzion: “The seniors that will be moving into our building – not only will they be paying lower rents compared to the rest of the area, but also they will be paying a lot less for their energy on a monthly basis.”

Rahwa Ghirmatzion is executive director of People United for Sustainable Housing, or PUSH Buffalo. Her group led the project, working closely with local residents concerned about the building’s fate.

”Projects Click To Tweet

She explains that projects like this help low-income people reap the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy.

Ghirmatzion: “I think that in our country and in our state we can make a full shift to a hundred percent renewable energy, and that it can be done for one-hundred percent of the people.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

Sarah Kennedy

Sarah Kennedy is an editor and content producer with ChavoBart Digital Media (CBDM), a production firm with a focus on scientific and environmental media. Her work on Climate Connections includes developing...