Photo: Long Island Progressive Coalition
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Shinnecock school gets SUNation Solar installation

A new solar power system was installed on the roof of Wuneechanunk Shinnecock Preschool, thanks to SUNation Solar Systems.

The 12.29 kW system was built and installed for free by the company’s nonprofit division SUNation Cares.

It’s expected to offset 90 percent of the building’s electricity needs and is estimated to save the school more than $3,000 on electricity costs each year.

The idea for the project originally came out of an Energy & Social Justice Workshop that the Long Island Progressive Coalition organized with tribal members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation in Dec. 2019 around the implications of the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which the organization was instrumental in passing.

The program provides free solar systems, as well as labor, design, and engineering services to communities that face barriers to accessing solar power.

“The Shinnecock Nation is excited to partner with SUNation to bring renewable clean energy to our Wuneechanunk Preschool,” Bryan Polite, chairman of the Shinnecock Council of Trustees, said in a written statement. “The Nation is always interested in trying to become energy independent by using techniques and equipment that are eco-friendly.” 

Scott Maskin, CEO and co-founder of SUNation Solar Systems, said his company was proud to begin the partnership with the Shinnecock Nation.

“Nineteen years ago, SUNation set out to change the way all Long Islanders viewed energy consumption by bringing alternatives like solar energy to their doorsteps,” Maskin said in the statement. “We look forward to helping them embrace the new energy future for all of our children. We take immense pride in this project.”

An educational workshop with members of the Shinnecock Youth Clubhouse and other members of the community will take place on Nov. 10. It will cover the process behind the preschool project, the larger renewable energy transition, and job opportunities in the solar industry. It will also include hands-on activities with solar materials and discuss plans for larger workforce development training in the community.

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