At our core, Brooklyn SolarWorks is dedicated to furthering clean energy solutions for New Yorkers. We strive to make sure that solar and other sustainable alternatives are accessible to the people in our community that want them. When there’s an opportunity to help a local non-profit utilize solar in some capacity, we’re happy to help.

That’s why we did not hesitate when KoKo NYC, a children’s arts education organization, inquired about installing solar on their community workshop called the Tiny House Project.

KoKo NYC’s Tiny House Project

KoKo NYC is the arts education program of Open Source Gallery, a non-profit arts organization based in Brooklyn. They provide art-based science and engineering classes to schools and after-school programs. Their goal is to empower kids to see potential all around them, to see their own ideas come to fruition, to feel a sense of ownership in their work and to make connections between art and science.

To date, KoKo NYC’s programs have reached over 8,000 children through local schools, the Brooklyn Public Library, and CAMBA Flagstone Family Center. They also partner with organizations like the MoMA, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

KoKo NYC students working on Tiny House. Credit: KoKo NYC

KoKo NYC’s art programs use repurposed materials as a basis for their projects to inspire environmental awareness and imagination. One of these programs is the Tiny House Project, which is just that. It’s a house designed by kids and built with the goal of making KoKo’s classes more accessible to different areas of the city. 

The mobile workshop is totally off the grid. This means the students have to experiment with alternative power sources like wind and bike generators and water collection tanks. But one component was still missing: solar energy.

And that’s where we came in.

How did BSW help?

First, our team had to determine how much energy was necessary to meet the needs of the program. Their goal was to produce enough solar to power their electric tools, some lights, and occasional engineering projects that students create. 

For this project, BSW chose to use an LG panel which features tempered glass and an aluminum frame. The device can handle surges from power tools, medical devices, and home appliances, including full-size refrigerators.

The structure had a few wood beams beneath the aluminum which we were able to fasten our rail to. We waterproofed the holes as well as some other existing holes. There were no difficulties attaching the modules to the roof. We installed the system in a matter of 20 minutes.

The Goal Zero YETI 1500X Portable Power Station connects to the panel and is very self-contained. This allows the Tiny House to stay portable. Part of Tiny House’s mission is to show students that it’s possible to go off the grid and remain mobile. This scenario is ideal because the power station stores the harnessed solar power which can be accessed any time, anywhere.

How is Tiny House using their solar?

With their new solar, KoKo NYC and the Tiny House are ready for a summer filled with learning, sustainability, and fun. 

Because of their new mobile power, the space is being prepared for summer activities using power tools — even while parked in an empty lot in South Slope or at the Dredger’s Boathouse in Gowanus (where it will be located during the week this summer). Tiny House will be home to KoKo’s Summer Soapbox Workshop and Mini Destroy & Construct Camp as well as the organization’s participation in the Green New Deal Superstudio, where solar will power the tools students need to build Ambassador Carts.

A KoKo NYC student building a soapbox car. Credit: KoKo NYC

The Green New Deal Superstudio is a national conversation about how the framework of the Green New Deal can be translated into actual projects. KoKo is collaborating with Dilly Dally Projects to showcase KoKo’s Backyard Utopia project in mobile display boxes made from reclaimed materials. Backyard Utopias promote the practices of restoring and remediating soil, testing the potential of cleaning polluted waterways, and filtering rainwater to create drinking water.

“Thanks to Brooklyn SolarWorks and their awesome team, KoKo’s Tiny House has mobile solar power,” KoKo NYC’s Executive Director Monika Wuhrer says. “The battery has not gone under 80 percent, even after using all kinds of machinery to build a platform and a roof water collection system. It’s impressive how much power the solar panel generates and how much the small battery can store.”

BSW in the Community

Brooklyn SolarWorks was founded in 2015 with the goal to make solar appealing, easy and available for Brooklyn’s urban homeowners. We’ve installed more than 800 systems across Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx and are proud that NYC homeowners are continuing to invest in solar energy.

But we understand that homeowners aren’t the only members of our community who want to actively use solar instead of relying on fossil fuels. That’s why we look to support local non-profit organizations that do so much for Brooklyn, but don’t necessarily have the budget to invest in clean energy. Nonprofits dedicated to education & youth achievement, community development, health & human services, sustainability, and cultivating public outdoor spaces are our first priority when it comes to engaging in complimentary solar installations. 

As we continue to solarize NYC, we look forward to connecting with and providing solar to community based organizations like KoKo NYC.

Questions? Reach out to our team at 347-318-4771 or schedule your free consultation here.

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