New York City’s renewable energy future looks bright as Con Edison gives full support to pioneering effort
New York, NY - January 21, 2009 – Solar Energy Systems (SES) and Big Sue, LLC (Big Sue) are changing the image of the City’s energy landscape. SES, one of the Northeast’s leading integrators of solar power systems, has successfully commissioned New York City’s first commercial net metered solar photovoltaic (PV) system for Big Sue, a general contracting and consulting firm which specializes in green building design and construction. The 40 kW DC PV system is most notable for its size and ability to send unused power back to the electrical network grid operated by Consolidated Edison of New York (Con Edison). “To our knowledge, this is the largest commercial net-metered PV system located on a network grid in the United States. It sets a precedent for future solar installations in New York City and around the country, where utility interconnectivity issues have plagued the installation of commercial PV systems on network grids,” said Solar Energy Systems President and CEO David Buckner, of his company’s design and installation.
In keeping with the State’s mission to diversify New Yorkers’ energy use and promote renewable energy technologies, Governor David A. Paterson signed legislation expanding New York’s net metering laws to non-residential customers with strong bipartisan support in August 2008.
Governor Paterson stated, “Now, New York businesses who invest in solar energy are allowed to sell excess generation back to the utility grid, often at times when it’s most needed. The solar energy system at Big Sue will relieve stress on New York City’s overburdened electrical infrastructure by delivering locally generated, clean solar energy. The companies involved in this milestone project are building New York State’s green collar workforce in support of our renewable energy industries.”
As is the case in many urban centers, electricity is distributed throughout New York City on a “network” design. While networks offer the highest power quality and reliability, they are also the most sensitive to the interconnection of distributed resources such as solar. Con Edison is the first utility in the United States to allow solar net metering and hopes to overcome barriers to the use of solar energy in urban areas through partnerships like one it has forged with SES and Big Sue.
The Big Sue-SES project was a “clear fit” to become Con Edison’s first commercial net metering venture in the City of New York. In acknowledging the significance of this project, Con Edison’s Vice President of Engineering and Planning, John Mucci, notes that "Con Edison encourages customers like Big Sue and SES to find innovative ways to be energy efficient and provide clean renewable energy while interconnected with our grids."
Big Sue co-owner, Susan Boyle, also gives credit to SES, saying, “They knew the critical criteria and supported us on our mission.” Adding, “We wouldn’t have worked with anyone else. Because of SES’s track record they were the only choice.” According to Boyle, the company researched a range of energy options for its commercial property- including geothermal and peak shaving battery back-up devices—but chose solar because of the simplicity afforded by net-metering.
Commercial properties with large roof areas are prime locations for solar electric systems. The customized array sitting atop Big Sue’s building (located at 925 Bergen Street in Brooklyn) converts sunlight into electricity and is equipped with a net meter that connects directly to Con Edison’s grid. This direct connectivity enables Big Sue to “sell back” its unused energy to the utility, with Big Sue receiving billing credit for all excess power produced by the solar panels and redelivered to the Con Edison network.
Jim Gallagher, Senior Vice President of Energy Policy at the NYC Economic Development Corporation stated, “This project is a critical step in increasing the amount of solar power in New York City and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The collaboration between SES, Big Sue and Con Edison sets the precedent on how to effectively move net-metered projects forward.”
Michael Coddington, a Senior Engineer with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), who toured the site of SES’s landmark installation, was impressed by the net meter, grid connectivity and sophisticated energy plan (which includes radiant floor heating). “Pretty unique,” said Coddington, “and after review an excellent example. Also, as one of the first commercial buildings that can send power back to the grid Big Sue’s PV system is a ground-breaker in more ways than one. They took an old dilapidated building, made the investment in solar technology and brought it back to life. It’s really cool,” Coddington concluded.
About Solar Energy Systems (SES):
Founded in 1998, the SES base for operations, management and design is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York. Additional project management and business development efforts are coordinated from offices in Hawthorne, New York, and Newark, New Jersey. As one of the Northeast’s leading full-service integrators of commercial solar power systems, SES specializes in delivering turnkey, cost-effective and reliable solar energy solutions to a diverse range of clients in government, private business, and the non-profit sector.
More information on SES can be found at http://www.solaresystems.com or by calling (718) 389-1545.
Solar Energy Systems, LLC