Subscriber enrollment is complete for the 100-kW Carroll Street Community Solar Farm in Brooklyn. The project—built on a mixed-used commercial building—is among the first rooftop community solar projects in New York City.
The large amount of customer interest in the project bodes well for the future of community solar in the New York City. The new urban solar model could make solar economically viable for building owners for the first time and help unlock the city’s 11-GW rooftop solar potential. Gotham Community Solar is financing and will own the solar projects with CleanChoice Energy managing all subscriber services including acquisition, management, customer care, billing and retention. UGE is providing the engineering, design and installation of the solar system. The project is the first of several under development by the partners.
“Community solar is the perfect solution for making solar work in New York City. This project highlights the possibility of solar for building owners. In New York, there are thousands upon thousands of rooftops for which solar will now be the right choice—both economically as well as for the climate and clean air,” said Peter Davidson, CEO of Gotham Community Solar. “This is a great new source of revenue for landlords and building owners in New York City—particularly the outer boroughs. Now everyone can support clean solar power for their homes.”
“Community solar is business innovation at its best and has potential to exponentially expand New York’s clean energy economy,” said Tom Matzzie, founder and CEO of CleanChoice Energy. “The fantastic response to this project shows how excited New Yorkers are to support local community solar. Every day we hear from residents and businesses that they want to be powered by renewable energy. Community solar makes supporting local solar possible for the millions of New Yorkers who do not own their roofs. We are excited to lead this effort forward for New Yorkers alongside Gotham Community Solar and UGE.”
“Community solar is the future of solar energy for commercial building owners in New York City,” said Nick Blitterswyk, CEO and founder of UGE. “One only needs to look at the countless empty rooftops throughout the city the next time they fly into one of the area’s airports to imagine the potential. The solar systems we install are the equivalent of a new tenant at that building, giving the building owner the unique opportunity to make money, help their community, and contribute to decreasing pollution in the city. Helping complete one of the city’s first community solar projects is a huge step forward and we look forward to playing a leading role in spreading this new solar model.”
Carroll Street subscribers will receive credit on their electric bill for the power generated by the solar panels at the site. Subscribers sign-up through CleanChoice Energy Community Solar platform. The new platform connects people to local community solar projects, allowing customers to sign-up in less than five minutes, and manages ongoing customer engagement—all fully digital and completely online. CleanChoice Energy Community Solar subscribers pay no upfront costs, have no maintenance and do not need to own their roof—allowing anyone to support local solar even if they rent or do not have a roof suitable for solar panels.
The project’s success is due in large part to innovative New York State and New York City policy initiatives. Governor Cuomo’s comprehensive energy strategy for New York, “Reforming the Energy Vision” (REV) has spurred community solar innovation. In 2015, the Community Distributed Generation Initiative bolstered the opportunity for New Yorkers to participate in the solar market whether they rent their home, live in an apartment building, or own property unsuitable for installing solar panels. NYSUN Initiatives provide property tax and other key incentives for clean energy development. Mayor de Blasio’s OneNYC and other New York City policies have helped speed permitting and incentivized solar installation.
Community solar offers a new model that could unlock New York City’s enormous solar potential. Community solar offers commercial building owners the option of annual lease payments to install solar on their rooftop as well as a property tax abatement, up to $200,000 in New York City. Community solar can provide building owners a higher rate of return and make rooftop solar economically viable for many of New York’s buildings for the first time.
New Yorkers interested in joining future community solar projects can visit CleanChoiceEnergy.com/NewYork to learn more.
News item from CleanChoice Energy