Is New York Prepared for Photo voltaic Energy? – New York Occasions

The 40 panels on the roof value the couple about $53,000, they usually paid about $5,000 upfront. They acquired $11,200 again, because of federal, state and metropolis incentives and tax credit. The couple determined to take out two loans to repay the remainder of the invoice. One mortgage is from the state power authority and is paid concurrently their month-to-month Con Ed invoice, totaling lower than $200 per thirty days.

Mrs. Tornquist stated the electrical energy invoice averaged about $320 per thirty days earlier than they went photo voltaic. After the system was put in in Might 2015, the payments dropped to $18 a month through the summer time and about $50 a month through the winter.

Solar energy first took off in Staten Island, Long Island and Westchester County, largely as a result of many residents personal homes with giant pitched roofs that face south, optimum circumstances for producing probably the most kilowatts. It hasn’t been as straightforward for householders in additional built-up areas. Shade from neighboring buildings is probably the most limiting issue, and lots of photo voltaic installers will not be fascinated about establishing techniques on small flat roofs, in response to Mr. Neidl.

“The massive nationwide installers would see a small roof on Google Maps and they might say: small system, massive problem, no thanks,” he stated.

The town’s hearth codes additionally made it troublesome for installers to put sufficient panels to yield enough energy, stated Ronnie Mandler, the president of Best Energy Power, a Lengthy Island photo voltaic installer.

The New York Metropolis Hearth Division requires a transparent path of six ft from the perimeter of the roof, in addition to from all doorways, skylights and hatches, so firefighters have sufficient room for themselves and their gear. That limits the quantity of usable area on a typical townhouse with a 20-by-45-foot roof.


The four-building Alpine Flats rental complicated is topped by sufficient photo voltaic panels to offer 70 % to 80 % of the electrical energy utilized in widespread areas.

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Karsten Moran for The New York Occasions

“The town’s stringent hearth codes are the rationale the photo voltaic market hasn’t gotten greater right here,” Mr. Mandler stated. That stated, installers have provide you with some revolutionary options.

Gaelen McKee, the president of Brooklyn SolarWorks, labored with a structural engineer and a design agency to create a photo voltaic cover that raises the whole PV system off the roof by about 10 ft with aluminum frames.

Mr. McKee stated hearth codes restrict the standard rowhouse to about 16 roof panels, however a cover system can greater than double the variety of panels by elevating the panels over the roof, thus utilizing a lot of the constructing’s footprint. He stated he now installs about eight cover techniques a month and expects to double his enterprise over the subsequent yr.

House owners of condominium buildings are additionally eyeing the solar. Jac Zadrima, a principal of Genesis Realty Group within the Bronx, positioned photo voltaic techniques on 21 of the 40 rental buildings the corporate owns. He estimates that he saves about $6,000 to $10,000 per constructing a yr, and stated that financial savings helps keep different constructing operations.

“Once you’re sustaining an older housing inventory, a upkeep situation isn’t minor,” he stated, “so it’s good to have that extra cash to offset a very good portion of your common-area prices.”

Equally, after spending $1.7 million to put in photo voltaic techniques on 9 rental buildings within the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, Daniel Benedict, the founding father of Benedict Realty Group, estimated that the funding may have paid for itself in about 5 years.

“Photo voltaic is nice for long-term house owners,” he stated. “I’m saving 70 % on my annual electrical energy invoice.”

The 552 panels throughout the 4 buildings that make up the agency’s Alpine Flats in Jackson Heights, Queens, generate about 157,000 kilowatts of electrical energy per yr. Between January and August, the Con Ed invoice for the buildings’ widespread areas totaled $5,334, considerably lower than the $18,850 he paid throughout the identical interval final yr earlier than he went photo voltaic.

Cecil D. Corbin-Mark, the deputy director of West Harlem Environmental Action, a group group, stated he fearful that the much less prosperous can be left behind within the metropolis’s photo voltaic revolution.

The group has urged a number of Housing Improvement Fund Company co-ops within the neighborhood to go photo voltaic, however convincing individuals to spend cash for future financial savings is troublesome. “Many of those buildings don’t have a lot in reserves, so boards are hesitant to take out loans,” he stated.

Even when co-ops and condominiums have enough reserves, getting the residents on the photo voltaic bandwagon is usually troublesome, stated McGowan Southworth, 41, a founding father of Zero Carbon Corporation, a inexperienced power consultancy that has helped co-ops go photo voltaic.

Mr. Southworth understands the wrestle: When he was president of his co-op board, it took him over a yr to acquire shareholder approval, set up a photo voltaic system and change meters at his personal constructing in Sundown Park, Brooklyn.

“It was a number of collaboration, which included many casual chats within the hallways,” he stated. “However now it’s an id. We’re referred to as that Sundown Park photo voltaic co-op.”

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