The Big Apple now has more than 9,700 solar power projects, producing 101.2 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 15,000 homes in New York City. That’s largely thanks coordinated efforts from the government, the local utility—Con Edison, Sustainable CUNY (at the City University of New York) and others working together to support clean energy in the city.
While 15,000 homes is a drop in the bucket in a city of over 8 million people, it still represents great progress for an area with extremely limited ground and rooftop space. To help make that happen Con Edison has made the interconnection process for installing small rooftop solar systems—under 25 kilowatts—easy and quick. For instance, it doesn’t require that such systems require an engineering review before they’re connect to the grid, reducing the amount of permitting needed and the amount of time it takes to interconnect a solar array.
"One of the most striking trends within the transformation of the energy industry is the move of customers to renewables," said Matthew Ketschke, Con Edison's vice president of Distributed Resource Integration. The utility had very few solar installations a mere decade ago.
Move over, companies and homeowners are saving money with solar power. Con Edison pointed to the example of Utley's Inc., which prototypes cosmetics and liquor industry containers. The company installed 24-kilowatts of solar panels on its manufacturing building Queens in 2015, it’s now saving roughly $5,000 a year on its energy bills.
"Solar panels have been a great investment for our business," said John Utley, who co-owns Utley’s with his brother, George. "We expect to recoup our investment in less than five years. It was a great business and environmental decision."
Con Edison, which already has installed 40 kilowatts on its headquarters in Manhattan, also has proposed installing solar panels on its rooftops and at its properties to make that solar power available to low-income customers. "We want clean energy, including solar, to be available for customers of all income levels and regardless of whether they live in a house or an apartment. We also advocate policies that ensure funding for the kind of robust grid that makes solar energy possible,” Ketschke said.
To help further develop solar power in the state and city, Con Edison is part of the Solar Progress Partnership, a group of six New York utilities and four solar companies. That partnership is aimed at ensuring solar power is developed in the state for all customers while ensuring the reliability of the electric grid.Tweet