Housing cooperative Georgetown Mews is becoming a solar-powered oasis in the middle of Queens in New York City. That’s thanks to a partnership with Sol Alliance to construct 1.56 megawatts of rooftop solar across 90 roof surfaces on 32 buildings. The project, the largest rooftop installation to date in Queens, will provide 930 apartments with clean electricity and is expected to save residents an estimated $425,000 per year.
Georgetown Mews is a residential cooperative famous for its 60 acres of lush gardens in Kew Gardens Hills neighborhood in Queens. It offers residents “in-the-country-living” in the middle of one of the busiest and largest metropolises in the US.
“I’ve been an advocate for green energy from the earliest days of solar,” said co-op President Mary Fischer. “I’ve been to countless ‘green’ seminars in an effort to fight for cleaner energy. And when New York City began to aggressively promote solar, it was clear to me the time to install solar panels at Georgetown Mews had arrived. I couldn’t be more excited to get this project underway.”
The project received an NYSERDA grant in addition to city and federal tax incentives totaling $1.6 million, allowing the project to be paid for in less than 2.5 years. Green Street Solar Power will install the rooftop arrays for Sol Alliance, with the project slated to come online by the end of 2017.
”I applaud Georgetown Mews for going solar. This is a pioneering project, and certainly one of the largest co-ops to employ solar in New York City,” said Dave Kane, CSO and director of community solar at Green Street. “To give you an idea of the size of this job, we’re installing more than 4,500 solar panels on the roofs of Georgetown Mews’ buildings, but it’s our team’s incredible work behind the scenes to even get us to this point that sets us apart. We have to connect to ConEd’s grid at 32 separate locations, secure building permits, make the FDNY happy—it’s extremely complex.”
The co-op first attempted to install solar in 2014. However, the project fell apart when its solar provider, Mercury Solar Systems, was acquired by RGS Energy in the middle of the project’s planning stages. Following the acquisition RGS Energy exited the commercial solar sector and pulled out of the deal.
Under Mayer Bill de Blasio (D) and the NYC Solar Partnership, the city has gone from having only 25 megawatts of solar installed to 96 megawatts installed and a goal of 1 gigawatt of solar installed by 2030. The city also has made a commitment to installing 100-megawatts hours of energy storage by 2020 to increase grid reliability and to provide backup power if the grid is offline. Additionally, the city, directed by de Blasio’s Office of Sustainability, has focused on providing low-income residents with access to benefits and savings of solar through the city’s OneNYC program.
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