With electricity rates on the rise, New York City residents are looking into greener alternatives to power their homes. A popular energy solution that New Yorkers have been switching to is solar! Read on to see how solar energy has impacted local Bed-Stuy resident, Jarret Yoshida, over the past year.
About Jarret Yoshida Designs
Meet Jarret Yoshida, an award-winning interior designer whose passion for crafting luxurious, contemporary living spaces is surpassed only by his commitment to purposeful and sustainable design.
Whether it’s a New York City apartment, a quaint townhouse, a charming brownstone, or a freestanding home, Yoshida’s approach is rooted in a holistic perspective. As Yoshida puts it, “Interior design is not just about making homes look beautiful, it is a whole process that begins from the very beginning in order to create a very integrated, seamless living experience.”
Sustainability is a part of Yoshida’s design philosophy and resonates through his design choices. His dedication to the environment is quite noticeable, as he seeks out vintage or custom-made furniture from sustainably harvested wood. The careful and thought out selection of materials extends to fabrics as well, with a focus on post-consumer usage. With a strong commitment to the longevity of his creations, Yoshida steers clear of fleeting trends in favor of timeless designs.
Why did Jarret decide to go solar?
Yoshida’s fascination with solar power traces back to his childhood, a time marked by global concerns over the energy crisis and the search for alternative solutions. As a witness to the upheaval caused by the oil crisis and the looming threat of depleting non-renewable resources, Yoshida was driven by an innate sense of responsibility. He recalls his first step into renewable energy when he convinced his parents to install a solar hot water heater, an experience that laid the foundation for his interest in residential solar energy.
However, Yoshida’s aspirations went beyond just solar energy for hot water. He had always wanted solar photovoltaic (PV) technology as well. Years later, with a home of his own, the perfect opportunity occurred. Fueled by his commitment to sustainability and his longing to be a part of the solution, he took the leap and installed solar PV panels.
For Yoshida, this transition to solar power wasn’t just a practical move; it was a way of aligning his personal values with tangible action, transforming his Bed-Stuy brownstone into a beacon of renewable energy and environmental consciousness.
About the Installation
Yoshida’s 8.4 kW system consists of 21 400 W panels mounted with a Brooklyn Solar Canopy — the perfect size for his three apartment brownstone! The system was tailored to Yoshida’s annual energy needs: with an annual usage of 9,998 kWh, our design team projected that his solar system would offset 93% of his home’s usage.
Embarking on the path to solar energy, Yoshida turned to Brooklyn SolarWorks, a decision that would mark a transformative phase in his commitment to sustainable living.
From the very beginning, Yoshida’s experience with the installation process was characterized by a seamless blend of professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. In his own words, “When they came over, they were extremely thoughtful and were able to explain really complicated terms.”
The positive experience extended beyond the initial installation process. Yoshida was particularly appreciative of the comprehensive support he received, ranging from paperwork to timely follow-ups.
Want to start your solar journey with Brooklyn SolarWorks? Schedule your free consultation!
What have the results been?
This summer marked the solar system’s first major test, and the results have been positive! Beyond aesthetics, the panels have acted as a protective shield, shielding the roof from the elements and prolonging its lifespan as well as preventing excessive heat buildup on the roof.
Spreading the Solar Love
We appreciate Jarret not only because of his own initiative to install solar, but because he truly understands that solar spreads through the ripple effect. Jarret’s commitment to sustainability has extended beyond his own home to encouraging others to embrace renewable energy too.
He’s referred many of his friends, neighbors, and clients to us, and a handful of them have taken the leap into solar as well.
Reduce Your Brownstone’s Energy Costs with Solar
The combination of environmental consciousness and financial savings showcased by Jarret’s experience with his solar canopy system serves as a huge sustainable inspiration in the heart of New York City.
Are you ready to switch to solar? Our experienced team will guide you in the right direction and design the best system for your home and future energy needs. Schedule a free consultation today!
If you’re the owner of a commercial property or co-op building in New York City, you may be subject to NYC Local Law 97. Passed in 2019, this law sets stringent standards for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of large buildings throughout the city.
With the initial compliance period for LL 97 beginning in 2024, now’s the time to determine whether your building is impacted by this law and how you can achieve compliance. Read on for everything you need to know about NYC’s Local Law 97.
What is Local Law 97?
Considered the cornerstone of the NYC Climate Mobilization Act, NYC Local Law 97 set carbon emissions limits for buildings greater than 25,000 square feet. In accordance with city goals, these buildings must reduce their emissions by 40% by 2030, and by 80% by 2050.
LL 97 set two initial phases of emissions limits for these buildings. The first phase begins in 2024 and continues until 2029, while the second, more stringent phase will take place in 2030-2034. The limits were set based on several different building use classifications and sizes. Buildings must submit yearly emissions reports starting in May 2025, and face penalties for exceeding emissions limits.
Why was NYC Local Law 97 created?
The NYC Climate Mobilization Act (CMA), otherwise known as NYC’s Green New Deal, was passed by the New York City Council in 2019. It put NYC on the path to fighting climate change by reducing building carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 and by 80% by 2050.
The largest climate legislation of any city in the world, the CMA consists of several laws aimed at reducing GHG emissions across the city, with special attention paid to improving the energy efficiency of both residential and commercial buildings.
One of these laws was NYC Local Laws 92 and 94 – also known as the Green Roof Law – which mandated that all new roof construction must add either a green roof, a solar PV system, or a combination of both. Another of these laws was LL 97, which set specific emissions reduction limits for NYC’s large buildings.
Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The main goal of NYC Local Law 97 is to significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of NYC’s large buildings. NYC buildings make up the majority of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, buildings account for over 70% of total emissions – surpassing even transportation emissions. The source of these emissions is energy consumption from electricity use, heating, and cooling, which can add up particularly in larger buildings.
Promote Energy Efficiency
In order to reduce their emissions in the coming decade, building owners will have to invest in energy efficiency measures. This could look like upgrading to electric heating and cooling systems, improving the building’s insulation, or powering it with solar energy. Creating more energy efficient buildings has the added benefit of decreased energy costs for building owners and reducing stress on the city’s power grid.
Improve Air Quality
Reducing emissions from buildings will result in better air quality for all New Yorkers. One of the biggest contributors to NYC’s poor air quality is the burning of fossil fuels for heating, electricity, and transportation. Moving towards a power system that is more energy efficient and less reliant on fossil fuels will create a healthier city.
Enhance Climate Resilience
One of the biggest challenges facing our city is preparing for the effects of climate change, like severe storms and heatwaves. Improving the energy efficiency of our buildings will help strengthen the power grid and make our city more resilient in the face of future severe weather events.
What are the requirements for buildings in LL97?
Under Local Law 97, most buildings in NYC over 25,000 square feet are required to meet new greenhouse gas emissions caps by 2024, and stricter caps by 2030. The emissions limits vary depending on the building type, but generally lead towards the goal of reducing emissions by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.
Starting in May 2025, buildings are required to submit an annual Greenhouse Gas Emission report to the Department of Buildings demonstrating compliance. If the building is non-compliant, the report must show by how much the building exceeded its limit.
How are emissions limits determined?
Initially, emissions limits were set based on building classifications in NYC Building Code occupancy groups, but have since been revised to create more equitable emissions limits.
The new building classifications were established based on property types in the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager, which reflect real patterns of energy consumption in NYC buildings.
Because of this change, buildings whose emissions limits were made more stringent have the option to follow the original limit if they choose. However, this is only for the calendar years 2024 and 2025 – in 2026, they’ll be required to follow the Energy Star limits.
What are the timelines for compliance?
This law sets emissions limits for two separate compliance periods.
First Compliance Period (2024 – 2029)
The first compliance period begins in 2024 and ends in 2029. Building owners must begin submitting their emissions reports by May 1, 2025, which will reflect the calendar year 2024.
Second Compliance Period (2030 – 2034)
The second compliance period will take place from 2030 to 2034. At this time, stricter emissions limits will go into effect.
What are the penalties for non-compliance?
The penalty for not complying with LL 97 is a fine, calculated by taking the difference between a building’s annual emissions limit and its actual emissions (in metric tons), then multiplying the difference by $268. The Department of Buildings may also issue violations to buildings that are non-compliant.
Annual fines for buildings that are non-compliant will begin to be issued in 2025.
Which department will be enforcing LL 97?
The primary city authority enforcing LL 97 will be the Department of Buildings. Building owners will need to submit their emissions reports to the DOB, and the DOB will also issue penalties and violations for non-compliance.
How do I know if LL97 applies to my building?
NYC Local Law 97 covers the following buildings:
- Buildings greater than 25,000 square feet
- Two or more buildings on the same tax lot that, combined, exceed 50,000 gross square feet
- Two or more buildings owned by a condo association that are governed by the same board of managers and that, combined, exceed 50,000 gross square feet
This covers around 27,000 of NYC’s buildings, the majority of these being residential. Rent regulated residential buildings and affordable housing may be able to delay compliance until 2026 or follow a Prescriptive Pathway as an alternative.
We recommend using NYC Accelerator’s Building Energy Snapshot tool to get specific information about your building’s energy use and its compliance status.
Covered Multifamily Buildings
When you think of large buildings in NYC, you may only think about the skyscrapers and luxury high rises in Manhattan.
However, there are around 18,000 multifamily buildings in NYC that are covered by LL 97, which accounts for 60% of the covered square footage. And of these buildings, most are low-rise (7 stories or fewer) and either pre-war (built before 1940) or post-war (1940-1980). Overall, pre-war, low-rise buildings are the ones who have the most LL 97 work to do.
Certain neighborhoods in NYC have greater proportions of these types of buildings than others. Neighborhoods with the most census tracts made up of more than 50% of these buildings include:
- Central Brooklyn: Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Bed Stuy, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn Heights
- North Brooklyn: Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Bushwick, Ridgewood
- South Brooklyn: Sunset Park, Bath Beach
- Queens: Astoria
- Manhattan: Soho, Harlem, Lower East Side
- Bronx: Port Morris, Van Nest, Soundview
If you own an apartment in an older, low-rise multifamily building in one of these neighborhoods, there’s a good chance it’s covered by NYC Local Law 97 and will benefit from solar energy.
What are the implications of LL97 for NYC building owners?
If you’re the owner of a covered building, there are some important implications and considerations to think about as the first compliance period approaches.
Determine Your Building’s Emissions Limit
The first step should be to determine your building’s emissions limit. If you’re the owner of a co-op, there is a specific limit set for Multifamily Housing. If you own a commercial-use building, there are a variety of classifications you may fall under.
To determine your emissions limit, refer to the DOB’s ESPM Property Types.
Consider Compliance and Penalties
It’s important to consider that the city will be penalizing buildings that do not comply with LL 97, and the penalties could be costly.
You can estimate your building’s carbon penalty using Building Energy Exchange’s free calculator and following these steps:
- Click “Find Your Building” to input your address
- Click “Next” on the upper right side
- Insert values for solar PV to see the added benefit of solar power.
Invest in Energy Efficient Upgrades & Sustainable Technology
To comply with Local Law 97, you’ll likely need to make some energy efficient improvements to your building. This could include:
- Electrifying your HVAC systems and hot water heating with heat pumps
- Installing solar to power your building
- Retrofitting your common area lighting
- Improving your wall and roof insulation
- Installing an energy management system
Investing in efficient, sustainable technologies will not only help you comply with LL 97, but can save you tons of money on energy costs in the long run. To get free, personalized guidance on how to upgrade your building, contact NYC Accelerator.
To learn about how solar can help you comply with LL 97, schedule a free consultation with us.
Financial Considerations & Affordability
Once you determine which energy upgrades you’ll need to make, you’ll need to consider your finances. Depending on the size of your building and the scope of the upgrades, it could be a pretty hefty investment.
However, there may be financing options available through the city that have little to no upfront costs and can make your upgrades much more affordable. NYC Accelerator’s Financing Specialists can help you find the right financing option for you. There are also tax incentives available for solar and for electric upgrades, made possible by the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.
Impact on Building Valuation
Investing in energy efficiency measures and sustainable construction has the added benefit of boosting your property’s value. Under Local Law 95, buildings get an energy efficiency grade based on their Energy Star scores and are required to display them. Though there are no legal consequences for having a low score under LL 95, low energy efficiency grades imply higher utility bills for tenants and buyers.
In today’s market, sustainability is a valuable selling point. In fact, home solar has been proven to increase property resale value in NYC by up to 5%. Your LL 97 retrofits will not only help you comply with the law, but provide a lot of value for your building too.
Make a Positive Environmental Impact
All in all, you’ll be making a pretty significant impact on your building’s carbon footprint by complying with NYC LL 97. Reducing your emissions not only helps NYC do its part in the fight against climate change, but it also contributes to a healthier city overall.
Future-Proof Your Building
Making energy efficient, sustainable upgrades will help your building become more resilient in the face of climate change-related weather events, including heat waves and severe storms. It’ll also lower your energy costs and make them more predictable, in a city where energy rates are on the rise year after year.
Solar Energy Can Help NYC Buildings Comply with LL 97
Installing solar panels on your multifamily building or commercial property is an excellent way to work towards complying with Local Law 97. Powering your building with clean energy reduces your emissions substantially, and it’s a great financial investment too.
Solar can not only help you avoid Con Edison’s ongoing rate hikes, but also help you avoid potential carbon penalties. According to the law, adding solar will reduce LL97 penalties by ~7.7 cents per kWh from 2024-2029, and ~3.9 cents per kWh from 2030 on. Installing solar now will help you save lots of money in the long term, both in energy costs and potential fines.
Go Solar Today to Avoid Future NYC Local Law 97 Penalties
The first compliance period for NYC Local Law 97 is coming up fast. One of the best ways you can prepare right now is to talk to us about installing solar on your property. Due to the permitting process in NYC, it can take anywhere from 4 to 6 months to install your project once you sign on.
Now’s the time to get started on the road to LL 97 compliance. Schedule a free consultation now!
New York City is notorious for being expensive, and electricity costs are no different. But if your utility bills from Con Edison have been higher than usual, you’re not alone. Over the past couple years, Con Ed has been charging New Yorkers more and more for electricity, regardless of their usage.
Here’s the deal about why your Con Edison bill is so high, and what you can do about it.
Brief History of Con Ed Energy Costs in NYC
Across the country, utility rates have been rising. In 2022, consumers across the U.S. paid an average of 14.3% more for electricity compared to 2021. Meanwhile, Con Edison customers saw a 22% increase on their electric bills from the winter of 2021 to the winter of 2022.
New York City has some of the highest energy prices in the country, with New Yorkers paying an average of 35-40% more for electricity despite being relatively energy efficient.
If you pay an electric bill in NYC, we don’t have to tell you that Con Ed’s rates have been increasing for years. In 2021, the average bill for a residential customer was $73.11, and in 2022, it was $84.10.
The rate hikes over the last few years have been a result of not only volatile market conditions, but also Con Ed’s operating costs being passed on to customers. The costs associated with maintaining electrical infrastructure and with delivering energy to a densely populated area are high, and they continue to grow as the electric grid requires further upgrades.
Are you a homeowner in NYC looking to reduce your energy costs?
How does Con Edison’s billing system work?
To understand why your bill might be higher than usual, it’s important to first understand the two main charges on your bill: supply and delivery.
Your Supply Charges
The supply charge is the cost Con Ed pays for the energy it transports to you. Neither Con Ed nor the PSC sets these rates, as they’re subject to the energy market as a whole. Con Ed sells energy to you at cost – it’s not legally allowed to profit from the sale of electricity.
In January and February of 2022, many New Yorkers saw a huge increase in their monthly bills. This particular spike was due to a sudden increase in supply charges, not delivery. Around 70% of the electricity used in NYC is powered by natural gas, which has been more expensive for the past couple years due to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
Although it wasn’t all Con Ed’s fault, Governor Kathy Hochul called on the utility to reform its communication and billing practices after the burden of this surge fell on customers who were already financially strained due to the pandemic.
Your Delivery Charges
The delivery charge is the cost of transporting energy into your home and is regulated by the Public Service Commission (PSC).
Although Con Ed’s not allowed to profit from the supply of electricity, it can raise its delivery rate. Con Ed has been raising its rates for years, and will continue to do so in the future:
- In 2020, the PSC approved a three-year incremental increase in electric rates totaling 13.5%.
- In February of 2022, Con Ed requested another increase of 11.2% starting in 2023.
- In July of 2023, the PSC approved three more increases, beginning with a 9.1% increase in August and followed by two more increases in 2024 and 2025.
The reasoning behind these increases is to cover Con Ed’s capital investments and infrastructure upgrades and invest in clean energy initiatives.
Interested in clean energy for your home? We can help!
Why are energy bills so high right now?
In July 2023, the PSC approved another round of rate increases for Con Ed. Beginning in August, residential customers can expect their electric bills to be 9.1% higher. In January 2024, bills will increase 4.2%, then 1.4% in January 2025.
This bill increase comes at the tail end of the hottest summer on record, while the next one is scheduled for the dead of winter (when energy bills already tend to be high).
Are these soaring electric costs here to stay?
One thing is clear: the cost of electricity is on the rise across the board, and major rate hikes are bound to happen again. The price of natural gas will always rise and fall with supply and demand, and it’s evident that Con Ed has no plans to end its rate hikes. Unfortunately, this won’t be the last time that you’ll be left wondering why your Con Edison bill is so high.
If you’re tired of surprise bills, solar could be the solution for you!
How can New Yorkers combat high electric bills?
If you feel like electricity costs are out of your control, you’re not alone. The solutions can vary greatly depending on your home and income level. But no matter your situation, there are some things you can consider doing to help offset your energy usage and monthly bills.
1. Invest in Solar Energy
As a solar installation company, we would be remiss not to mention solar energy as a solution to combating electric bills.
If you’re a homeowner in NYC, installing solar on your roof is the single best way to cut down on your electric bill. Many of our customers’ systems produce enough energy to eliminate their electricity charges altogether, paying Con Ed nothing other than a basic service charge (see below). After your solar panel installation, your energy costs will become more predictable and you’ll be able to avoid sudden rate hikes.
See how much you could save with home solar!
But we recognize that not everyone has the ability to invest in rooftop solar. There are other ways to incorporate solar into your life. For example, our friends at Grouphug Solar created a solar panel window charger that’s perfect for that south-facing window in your apartment.
2. Use Energy Efficient Appliances
When it comes to the energy consumption of household appliances, the solution is not always clean cut. Appliances responsible for heating, cooling, refrigeration, hot water heating, and laundry are huge energy users, but they’re also necessities. So what’s the solution?
Investing in energy efficient appliances can make a big difference in your home’s energy usage and therefore, your electricity bill — especially when paired with solar. If you own a home, installing all-electric, efficient appliances like these could make a big impact:
- Air source heat pump
- Heat pump water heater
- Energy Star washing machines and refrigerators
- Energy efficient lighting, window AC units, fans, and more
3. Consider Your Everyday Usage
Regardless of home situation or budget, there’s a lot of little things we can all do to be more conscious of our energy consumption. Here’s a few small ways you can make a difference in your usage everyday:
- Turn off lights and appliances when they’re not in use and when you’re not at home.
- Be mindful of the temperature you keep your home. According to NYSERDA, each degree above 75°F that you set your air conditioner’s thermostat saves you 3 percent of the energy used to cool your home.
- Take advantage of insulation and shades to keep your home warm and cold naturally.
- Run your dishwasher in the morning or evening to avoid adding to electricity demand in the middle of the day.
- Wash your laundry in cold water, and opt to air dry your garments.
4. Consider a Payment Plan or Financial Assistance
Con Edison offers financial assistance for customers who are unable to pay their bills. Contact Con Ed to learn about the following programs:
- Level Payment Plans: allow you to spread your payments evenly over the year.
- Payment Agreement: helps you to pay down your outstanding balance.
- Energy Affordability Program: you may qualify for a discount on your bills if you receive certain government benefits.
- Payment Extensions: allows you to extend your payment due date.
Does Con Edison have sustainability initiatives?
Con Edison has been developing sustainability initiatives for several years. In 2021, it committed to 100% clean electricity by 2040. To that end, it has made progress towards the electrification of buildings and transportation, and building out numerous solar and wind projects across the country.
We’re glad that one of NYC’s main utility companies is committing to sustainability goals, as any progress towards clean energy is positive in the long run. But, these initiatives will translate to higher and higher bills from Con Ed for years to come.
You can avoid the continued volatility of Con Ed bills by installing solar on your home. By investing in your own solar energy system, you’ll be able to take advantage of clean energy right away – no waiting on Con Ed to make its system upgrades, and no unexpected rate hikes in the meantime.
Rooftop solar gives you energy independence. Why pay Con Ed for clean energy in the future, when you could produce it in your own home right now?
If You’ve Been Considering Solar, The Time is Now
The cost of energy in NYC has been on the rise for years, and will continue to grow in the future. If you own a home in NYC, installing solar on your roof will allow you to avoid increasing electric rates for decades to come – just one of the many advantages of solar energy!
Start saving with solar!
With its bustling streets, dense population, and notoriously high traffic density, air quality in New York City has always been a topic for concern. Air quality here has been improving in recent years, but it’s not as “breathable” as it should be. There are a few main factors that contribute to NYC’s air quality, but there are also many solutions – one of these being the adoption of clean solar energy.
Read on to learn about the current state of air quality in NYC, the significant air pollution issues affecting the city, and how solar energy can play a pivotal role in achieving a cleaner future.
How is the air quality in NYC today?
In general, due to the City’s hard work towards lowering local emissions, NYC has been seeing consecutive decent air quality since 2017 with an average AQI of below 50. The AQI varies from borough to borough, with Brooklyn having the lowest AQI.
Even though air quality in NYC is progressing, it still remains a leading environmental health threat to all New Yorkers. Emissions from transportation, power plants, commercial and residential heating, industrial activities, and geographic factors contribute to the city’s air pollution challenges.
If you were in the city in early June, we don’t need to tell you that bad air quality can have significant health impacts. On June 7, 2023, New York City had the worst air quality in the world reaching an AQI of 405 out of 500 due to wildfires in Canada. The sky became orange, and the air became hazardous to breathe – for everyone, but especially children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing respiratory issues. Below was the view from our office in Gowanus:
This year’s wildfire season in Canada is on track to be the most destructive in history, made more severe by climate change-induced droughts and extreme temperatures. For us New Yorkers, it’s safe to say it could become a recurring issue.
Air Quality Issues Impacting New York City
Several factors contribute to poor air quality in NYC. Let’s explore some of the key culprits:
As a densely populated city with millions of residents and tourists, transportation emissions pose a significant threat to air quality. Data shows that 30% of NYC’s GHG emissions come from transportation.
Vehicle exhaust, particularly from cars and trucks, releases harmful pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5), leading to respiratory problems and other human health issues. Idle cars specifically are a significant contributor towards poor air quality.
Power plants that rely on fossil fuels for electricity generation contribute to air pollution. These plants release pollutants such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and carbon dioxide (CO2). These emissions not only impact local air quality but also contribute to climate change.
NYC’s many fossil fueled peaker plants – used to provide extra surges of electricity during times of peak demand – emit twice as much carbon dioxide and 20 times as many nitrogen oxides as regular power plants. According to reports from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, neighborhoods like Mott Haven and Melrose in the Bronx, which are home to multiple peaker plants, see triple the asthma-related hospital visits for children compared to the rest of the city.
Commercial and Residential Heating
The heating systems in commercial and residential buildings in NYC are still widely powered by fossil fuels. The primary use of fuel oil and natural gas combustion releases pollutants like PM, NOx, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air creating ground-level ozone (a component of smog).
Commercial and residential heating accounts for 14% of fine particulate matter pollutants emitted into our air. This is more PM emissions than all the cars and trucks in NYC combined.
Industrial processes, including manufacturing and construction, releases dust and pollutants into the air. Construction happens night and day in NYC, making it a significant air quality issue. The dust, chemicals, and emissions from industrial activities can have detrimental effects on air quality if not appropriately managed.
There are ways to manage air quality concerns for construction. According to plans from the East Side Coastal Resiliency project, the city is actively taking steps to limit emissions and dust from the project, such as:
- Use barging for large deliveries and restrict truck idling time
- Minimize use of diesel engines
- Cover and secure loads for all trucks hauling loose material including sand and dirt
- Use water spray for roads, trucks, truck wheels, excavation areas,and stockpiles
- Use extra care, including more frequent application of these measures, during dry and high wind periods
Importance of Improving Air Pollution in NYC
Improving air quality in NYC is crucial for the health and well-being of its residents and visitors. Clean air helps reduce the risk of respiratory diseases, cardiovascular problems, and other health complications. Addressing air pollution and quality in NYC also aligns with global efforts to combat climate change and transition into sustainable energy sources.
There are a number of benefits to improving NYC’s air quality:
Public Health & Quality of Life
The World Health Organization has recognized air pollution as a significant public health problem. Ambient air pollution is estimated to have caused 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide in 2019. By improving air quality, we are decreasing the risk for creating, or worsening, health issues for the people of NYC.
While air quality has been improving in recent years, not all New Yorkers have experienced those improvements the same way. In NYC, low-income areas and communities of color are disproportionately impacted by low air quality. In fact, when the Canadian wildfire smoke impacted NYC, the zip codes with the highest numbers of asthma-related hospital visits were disproportionately in low-income Black and Hispanic communities.
There are a number of local organizations doing important environmental justice work throughout the city. One such organization is WE ACT for Environmental Justice, who works to improve environmental conditions specifically in Harlem, where children are hospitalized for asthma three times as often as the rest of the city.
By recognizing these disparities and working to improve air quality conditions, we can move towards a more just future for all New Yorkers.
Climate Change Mitigation
Mitigating climate change means improving air quality and vice versa. Burning fossil fuels produces greenhouse gasses that are responsible for both poor air quality and the warming of our planet.
NYC is already taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as mandated by the Climate Mobilization Act, by moving towards greater energy efficiency and by expanding the city’s capacity for electricity generation from renewable sources like solar.
Tourism and Economy
NYC is one of the epicenters for tourism. Heavy tourism tends to decrease the air quality of the visited area, but good air quality is considered one of the main attractions of tourist destinations. Improved air quality will increase NYC’s tourist economy as well as keep its native New Yorkers healthy.
How Can Solar Energy Improve Air Quality?
The biggest contributor to poor air quality is the burning of fossil fuels, whether it be for transportation, heating, or electricity generation. Naturally, decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels is the best way to reduce air pollution.
One of the many advantages to solar energy is cleaner air in NYC. Solar power is a clean and renewable energy source that produces electricity without emitting harmful pollutants or greenhouse gasses. Plus, it can be used to power electric transportation and electric heating, replacing the need for gas and oil and substantially reducing emissions from both.
By shifting from fossil fuel-based electricity generation to solar power on a large scale, the city can reduce air pollution and do its part to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Positively Impact the Future of Air Quality in NYC Today
Solar energy is a viable solution to improve air quality in New York City. By transitioning to clean and renewable energy, the city can address its air pollution challenges, enhance public health, and contribute to a more sustainable future.
You can be a part of the solution. Take the first step towards solar and get your free home consultation today!
The trend of home electrification has been on the rise in recent years, as homeowners aim to adopt more cost-effective and more environmentally friendly energy solutions. Given the fact that gas-powered heating and water heating can be a major utility expense and harmful to the environment, electrification has become an attractive alternative.
Upgrading to electric HVAC and appliances is a smart move in and of itself, but it becomes even more beneficial when combined with solar power.
In this case study, we take a closer look at a Brooklyn rowhouse that’s been solar powered and electrified since 2017. Read to learn why the homeowners decided to electrify, how they tackled the process, and what the results have been.
What is home electrification?
Electrifying your home refers to the process of shifting away from traditional heating and cooling systems that rely on fossil fuels and transitioning to electric-powered systems that are powered by the grid or, even better, your own clean energy source like solar power.
This means replacing natural gas-powered appliances, such as water heaters, boilers, furnaces, and stovetops, with efficient electric appliances.
Benefits of Home Electrification
Electrifying your home offers a host of benefits, including:
- Reducing your reliance on fossil fuels, and in turn, your carbon footprint
- Improving air quality
- Reducing your energy costs
- Decreased maintenance costs and increased home value
- Reducing your family’s exposure to harmful pollutants and potential gas leaks
The homeowners in our case study initially decided to pursue electrification to help protect the environment. For them, this meant starting with solar. But after about a year of having a solar canopy, they felt confident in switching from their old gas-powered heating system to a new electric heat pump mini-split system, because they had seen from their solar monitoring software that their solar canopy made enough electricity to cover their heating loads.
About The Home
This three-story rowhouse is located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. It’s a two-family home attached to neighboring homes on both sides with a semi-finished basement. The home was built in 1895.
The homeowners had a solar canopy installed on their flat roof in December of 2017, and began electrifying in the summer of 2018 with installation of a heat pump mini-split system.
How was the home electrified?
There are a few main upgrades these homeowners made to electrify their home.
Solar Panel Installation
Solar is an important part of the electrification process. Switching your home’s power source to solar, rather than just the grid, makes your electric upgrades that much more cost-effective, efficient, and clean.
In 2017, the homeowners decided to install solar on their home. They worked with us to install a Brooklyn Solar Canopy on their roof. Their 8 kW canopy is made up of 24 LG 335 panels.
They were able to take advantage of the rich government incentives available in New York City for installing solar, covering about 85% of their costs. This included a little known, but very valuable, 20% Historic Homeownership Rehabilitation Credit (eligibility depends on where you live – get in touch with us to learn what incentives you qualify for!)
Within the first few months of having a canopy, they realized that they were generating a ton of power — way more than their home required. While they were racking up plenty of net metering credits on their Con Edison bills, they were inspired to think about ways that they could utilize their excess electricity to get off fossil fuels. This meant swapping out their old gas-powered heating and water heating systems to new efficient electric heat pumps.
Over the past four years, their solar canopy has generated enough power to cover all of their electric upgrades and other appliances. See a breakdown of usage and consumption here:
Mini-Split Heat Pump System
About six months after their solar canopy installation, the homeowners decided to install a mini-split heat pump system. Each floor of the house has its own mini-split system with several air handling units, giving them the flexibility and cost-savings of controlling the temperature of each floor and each room individually.
Mini-split heat pump systems provide heating and cooling. A ductless mini-split system is made up of two parts: an outdoor compressor and an indoor air handling unit. These are connected via a refrigerant line, as opposed to ducts.
In general, heat pumps work by transferring the heat in the air to where it’s needed – during the winter, the system releases heat indoors, and during the summer, it’ll send heat from indoors to outdoors. This makes them much more efficient and cost-effective than conventional heating and cooling systems.
Heat Pump Water Heater
This Sunset Park home also benefits from a heat pump water heater. Like an HVAC heat pump, a heat pump water heater works by transferring the heat from the surrounding air to heat up the water inside the storage tank, making it much more efficient than gas-powered water heating systems..
Not only has the home’s water heating become more efficient, the homeowners have found that it has the added benefit of dehumidifying their basement as well. This has allowed them to use their basement as a storage and pantry space.
Insulating and sealing your home is beneficial when moving towards energy efficiency, but not absolutely necessary when electrifying. In fact, the homeowners did minimal insulation work throughout this process. They sealed their roof around the hatch, and they also took advantage of a NYSERDA weatherization subsidy to insulate their attic with blown-in cellulose.
In spite of the home’s minimal air sealing, it’s still sufficiently energy efficient to be able to power all its heating and cooling loads by its own rooftop solar power system. Electrification doesn’t need to become a big expensive passive house project – even if your home is older, making these simple electric upgrades is more than enough to improve your home’s efficiency and energy costs.
Besides their mini-splits and water heater, their solar canopy is covering all of their other loads too. This includes their lighting, computers, TVs and 3 refrigerators throughout the house. The homeowners have a tenant occupying one of the floors of the home, and their needs are covered too.
How has electrification affected the home’s energy costs?
Since installing their solar canopy, the homeowners’ electric bills from Con Edison have been essentially eliminated, paying nothing other than the basic service charge (about $18-20 per month). In 2022 alone, they saved an estimated $1,510 on their non-heat electricity loads.
When they installed solar, they opted to consolidate all of the home’s meters into one, meaning their tenant’s electricity needs are covered by the solar canopy too.
Because their home’s heating and water heating no longer runs on gas, their gas bills have been eliminated as well. In 2022, they saved an estimated $2,748 on gas.
Start Electrifying with Solar Today!
Electrifying your home is a great way to save money, make your home safer, and reduce your carbon footprint. And it’s not as complicated as you might think – it doesn’t require a major renovation or owning a newer home.
Plus, with plenty of government incentives and subsidies available for installing solar panels and making various electric upgrades to your home, it becomes an affordable process with impressive financial returns.
Interested in electrifying? Start with the power source. Our experienced team will guide you in the right direction and design the best system for your home and future energy needs. Schedule a free consultation today!
As the world becomes more conscious about climate change and carbon pollution, the demand for clean energy solutions has grown. Electrifying your home is one way to reduce your carbon footprint, save money, and create a healthier, more energy efficient space.
This guide will provide an overview of electrification in NYC, including the benefits of going electric, how to assess your home’s needs, and first steps in creating your own electric home in the city.
What does it mean to electrify your home?
Electrifying your home refers to the process of shifting away from traditional heating and cooling systems that rely on fossil fuels and transitioning to electric-powered systems that are powered by the grid or, even better, your own clean energy source like solar power.
This means replacing natural gas-powered appliances, such as water heaters, furnaces, and stovetops, with efficient electric appliances.
Home Electrification vs. Traditional Heating and Cooling Systems
Traditional heating and cooling systems, such as gas furnaces, rely on fossil fuels, which contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
Electric heating and cooling systems, on the other hand, are powered by the home’s electricity source. This could be the power grid, or it could be a home’s solar PV system.
In terms of electric alternatives, homeowners can replace their older HVAC systems with electric resistance heaters or heat pumps. Out of these systems, the heat pump is the most efficient, producing the best results for space heating or cooling.
When combined with solar energy, electrification reduces greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Plus, it’s much more cost-effective than pulling power from the grid.
Why is electrifying your home in NYC important?
In 2019, NYC officials set an ambitious goal to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 in a package of legislation called the Climate Mobilization Act.
In NYC, buildings account for approximately two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions. One of the ways the city aims to achieve its climate goals is by electrifying buildings. To encourage electrification, the government offers incentives, rebates, and financing options for homeowners to upgrade and retrofit their homes.
Switching from traditional heating and cooling systems to electric systems:
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
- Improves air quality
- Increases energy efficiency and home resiliency.
What are the benefits of electrifying your home?
Creating an electric home in NYC can provide several benefits, including:
As of early 2023, fossil fuels still generate about 60% of energy in the United States. By upgrading to electric HVAC and appliances, you’re also:
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- Improving air quality
- Decreasing reliance on fossil fuels
Not only is switching to a more electric lifestyle great for the environment, it’s great for your wallet too! Upfront costs can be intimidating, but these systems pay themselves off (especially when powered by solar). When you go electric you can expect:
- Increased home value due to upgraded systems
- Decreased maintenance costs
- Reduced energy bills
Health & Safety Benefits
In NYC, lots of homes and buildings still rely heavily on gas. This isn’t just an environmental concern. Recent studies have shown that gas stoves, for example, pollute indoor air by releasing high levels of nitrogen dioxide, causing negative respiratory and cardiovascular outcomes.
Switching to electric appliances will:
- Improve indoor air quality
- Reduce exposure to harmful pollutants
- Reduce risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from gas appliances
- Reduce risk of gas leaks and explosions
How to Assess Your Home’s Electricity Needs
Before you start electrifying your home, it is essential to understand how your home consumes energy and how you can improve its overall efficiency.
Here are some first steps you can take to assess these needs.
Conduct an Energy Audit
Planning a home energy audit is a crucial first step in electrifying your home, because it will give you a better base understanding of specifically where your home needs energy efficient improvements.
Thanks to the New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), New Yorkers have access to several energy assessment programs that make creating a more energy efficient home easy and affordable.
Calculate Your Electricity Needs
Calculate your electricity needs by assessing your energy bills and understanding your energy usage patterns.
If you’re planning any electric upgrades, you’ll likely begin using a lot more electricity than before. This is why many people install solar along with electrification, as it’s much more cost-effective than using power from the grid.
Review Your Home’s Insulation, Air Sealing, and Ventilation
Check your home’s insulation, air sealing, and ventilation to identify any areas where energy loss could be reduced.
Insulation is an important part of creating an energy efficient home because it provides resistance to heat flow, and in turn, saves homeowners money on heating and cooling bills. It also improves personal comfort within the home.
How to Electrify Your Home in NYC
Going green has never been easier, especially when it comes to powering your home. Electrifying your home in NYC not only helps reduce your carbon emissions, but it can also save you a lot of money in the long run.
Here are some energy efficient upgrades to consider when electrifying your home.
1. Install an Electric Water Heater
Switching from a gas water heater to an electric water heater, such as a heat pump water heater, is a great way to electrify your home and create a more energy efficient water heating solution.
A heat pump water heater works by transferring heat from the air surrounding it to heat the water inside the storage tank.
By removing heat from the surrounding air, heat pump water heaters not only create hot water more efficiently than a conventional electric water heater, they also dehumidify the surrounding area.
2. Installing Solar Energy
While making electric upgrades is great, powering them with clean energy is even better. With rising electric bills, solar power helps reduce monthly energy expenses all while reducing your carbon footprint. The average home in NYC can be powered completely by solar energy, even after making electric upgrades, meaning your utility costs will be virtually eliminated.
In NYC, there are rich tax incentives for homeowners to install solar panels, making it an attractive option for those looking to reduce their costs and improve their home’s energy efficiency.
If you’re looking to electrify, start with solar. We can help you prepare for your home’s increased demand and get you the best bang for your buck. Schedule a consultation today!
3. Adding an Electric Heat Pump
Electric heat pumps are a great way to electrify your home’s heating and cooling system. Air source heat pumps work by transferring heat from the air outside your home to the inside, meaning they use less energy to produce warm or cold air.
Electric heat pumps are much more energy efficient and cost-effective than conventional furnaces or AC units. They’re much cleaner too, making your home a safer place.
Your heat pump system can either heat and cool your home centrally through ducts, or you could set up a ductless mini-split system to give you control over the temperature of individual floors or rooms.
Interested in upgrading your HVAC system in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, or Staten Island? We’d recommend working with our partner, Winter Wolf in Park Slope.
4. Installing Efficient Lighting and Appliances
Switching to energy efficient lighting and appliances can help reduce your energy consumption and save you money on your energy bills.
Look for appliances and lighting with the Energy Star label. This label indicates that they meet energy efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
5. Insulating & Sealing Your Home
Insulation is an important factor in energy efficiency. Insulating your home can help reduce energy consumption by keeping warm air inside during the winter and cool air inside during the summer. Proper insulation can also help reduce noise pollution and improve the overall comfort of your home.
Air leaks in your home can cause energy waste and increase your energy bills. Sealing these air leaks can help reduce energy consumption and improve the overall efficiency of your home.
6. Using Smart Home Technology
Smart home technology can help you control and monitor your energy consumption. You can set timers and schedules for your appliances and lighting, and monitor your energy usage in real-time.
7. Adding an Electric Vehicle Charging Station
If you own an electric vehicle, adding a charging station to your home is a convenient option that will help reduce your carbon emissions even further. If you’re thinking about powering your EV at home, using your home’s solar panels to charge your EV is the cleanest and most environmentally friendly way of doing so.
Considerations When Choosing Renewable Energy Sources
Powering your all-electric home with renewable energy can virtually eliminate your utility bills, and it’s great for the environment too. If you’re looking to switch to clean energy for your home, here are some factors to consider.
- Energy demand
- Consider and assess how much energy your household uses and choose a renewable energy source that can meet your demand
- Consider the upfront costs of installing renewable electricity sources, as well as the long-term savings on energy bills
- Environmental impact
- Powering your home with clean energy means amplifying the impact you’ve already made by electrifying
- Government incentives
- NYC solar incentives make New York City one of the best places to go solar, covering your upfront costs by up to 70%
If you’re considering electrifying with solar, we can help guide you in the right direction in terms of your energy needs and solar system size. Get in touch!
Generating Your Own Electricity in NYC
Generating your own electricity with solar panels can offer numerous advantages, particularly in densely populated areas like New York City. It provides homeowners with greater control over their energy bills, reduces reliance on the grid, and contributes to a more sustainable future.
By harnessing the power of the sun, homeowners can become energy independent and make a positive impact – on both their energy bills and the environment.
Start Electrifying Your Home with Solar!
Electrifying your home in NYC is a great way to reduce your home’s energy costs and protect your family from health and safety risks. But powering your electric upgrades with a home solar system is even better, eliminating your Con Ed bills, offering independence from the grid, and significantly reducing your carbon footprint.
By embracing solar energy, homeowners can take an important step toward electrifying their homes and contributing to a greener, more sustainable future.
Ready to electrify? Start with solar. Schedule a free consultation today!
NY solar incentives and surging electricity rates make New York City one of the best solar markets in the country. Something we love about our work is informing homeowners about these valuable city, state and federal offerings that make installing solar panels incredibly affordable.
These NYC solar tax credits and rebates can cover up to 70% or more of the gross cost of most residential solar projects, which is a major advantage of installing solar. We’ve broken them down for you here.
Importance of Solar Incentives for NYC Homeowners
Although investing in solar becomes a great value over time, it can come with a sizable upfront price tag. Government tax incentives reduce the net cost of your solar system, making it more affordable and accessible.
For NYC homeowners, tax incentives can cover a major portion of the cost of a solar system. Not only that, but financing options help you pay your system off over time. By combining incentives and financing, solar can become a reality for many New Yorkers.
New York State Solar Income Tax Credit
What is the New York State Solar Income Tax Credit?
One of the best NY solar incentives to take advantage of is the New York State Solar Income Tax Credit. This credit, also known as the NYS Solar Energy System Equipment Credit, allows NYS homeowners to claim 25% of their solar system costs – up to $5,000 – as a credit on their state income taxes.
This credit, like the federal solar income tax credit, is non-refundable, meaning you cannot use it to increase your refund from the state government. However, if the credit exceeds your tax liability for a single year, the credit can be carried over for up to five tax years.
Eligibility for the New York State Solar Income Tax Credit
You are eligible to claim this credit if:
- You purchased solar panels or other solar energy equipment for your home
- The equipment uses solar radiation to produce energy for residential use
- The solar equipment is installed and used at your primary residence in New York State
How to Claim the New York State Solar Income Tax Credit
To claim this credit, you will need to file Form IT-255 “Claim for Solar Energy System Equipment Credit” with your New York State income taxes. You can get more information and download Form IT-255 here.
New York State Solar Rebate
What is the NYS Solar Rebate?
Through the NY-Sun Program, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (or NYSERDA) provides cash incentives to build solar in different regions of the state. This incentive is a rebate that reduces the upfront contract price of New York State residential solar projects.
The rebate for NYC residential projects is currently $.20 per Watt of solar installed. Note that the rebate amount declines over time based on how much solar is installed in each region of the state.
In addition to the rebate, NYSERDA also provides a number of solar panel financing options for New York residents looking to invest in solar for their home.
How to Apply for the NYS Solar Rebate
This rebate differs from the other NY solar incentives we’ve listed here in that it is paid directly to the installer, then passed on in full to the customer. In order to secure this rebate, or finance your solar installation through this program, you will need to work with a NYSERDA-approved participating installer. Brooklyn SolarWorks is a Gold Quality NYSERDA contractor!
Learn about the rebates and financing options available to you through this program: Contact Us
New York City Solar Property Tax Abatement
What is the NYC Solar Property Tax Abatement?
The NYC Property Tax Abatement for solar allows NYC homeowners to claim 20% of solar system costs as a property tax abatement with the NYC Department of Finance. It is divided into annual 5% installments over a four year cycle, not to exceed any one year’s property tax liability.
How to Apply for the NYC Solar Property Tax Abatement
Brooklyn SolarWorks claims the PTA on your behalf during the permitting process. Building permits signed off by March 15th will have their property tax abatements initiated the following July.
For more information, you can view the DOB’s Form PT4: Property Tax Abatement for Solar Electric Generating System.
NYS Historic Homeownership Rehabilitation Tax Credit
What is the NYS Historic Homeownership Rehabilitation tax credit?
The New York State Historic Homeowner Tax Credit Program is little known, but very valuable. Through this program, the state is effectively paying eligible homeowners to optimize their homes through improvements like solar power.
The credit covers 20% of qualified rehabilitation costs of owner-occupied historic houses, up to a credit value of $50,000.
Eligibility for the NYS Historic Homeownership Rehabilitation Credit
Note that not all NYC homes can qualify for this credit. NY State Historic Tax Credits only apply to certain districts in the city as designated by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Want to know if your home qualifies? Speak with a Solar Specialist
In addition to living in a designated historic community, your solar panels must be installed on the home that you owned and resided in during the specified tax year in order to qualify.
How to Claim the Historic Homeownership Rehabilitation Tax Credit
To claim this credit, you’ll need to file Form IT-237, “Claim for Historic Homeownership Rehabilitation Credit” with your New York State taxes. Because qualification for this credit can be trickier, BSW can provide support in filing for it.
For more information about the NY State Historic Tax Credit, you can view instructions and Form IT-237.
Net Metering in New York City
Beyond tax incentives, one of the other great benefits of going solar in NYC is net metering in New York. Net metering is a billing mechanism that allows you to store your solar energy as a retail energy credit to be used at a later date.
In other words, your solar system will likely produce more energy than your home needs. That excess energy is sent back into the grid, and Con Edison compensates you for it in the form of retail energy credits that are applied to your future bills. So even though solar battery installations aren’t permitted in NYC yet, you can still utilize the extra solar energy your system produces.
Because of net metering, many of our customers reduce and even eliminate their monthly electric bills.
Federal Solar Tax Credit
Another great incentive to take advantage of is the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), or federal solar income tax credit. The ITC allows homeowners to deduct up to 30% of their solar system installation costs from their federal income tax. If the credit exceeds a taxpayer’s single year tax liability, they can divide the credit over multiple years.
Most recently, the 30% federal tax credit was extended in August 2022 for an additional 10 years. The credit will drop to 26% in 2033, then to 22% for residential installations in 2034.
To claim this credit, you’ll need to fill out IRS Form 5695 for Residential Energy Credits when filing your federal taxes.
Choosing the Best Solar Installer for Your Home
The solar installer you choose to work with is a big factor in determining your experience as a customer, as well as the solar energy system you end up with and how much it’ll cost. This is especially true in a place like New York City, where there are inherent system design challenges and lots of regulatory hoops to jump through.
That’s where we come in. We’re a local solar installer in NYC that’s been designing unique solar systems and navigating the complex permitting process since 2015. Working with a local installer means you’ll benefit from timely, personalized service and a deep knowledge NYC regulations and incentives (and you’ll be supporting a local business too).
Take Advantage of NYC’s Incentives and Go Solar Today
Allow us to do the math for you: if your project qualifies for all of the incentives listed above, you could see a reduction of up to 80% of your costs. Even if you’re not eligible for all of these, the majority of your costs can still be covered – in addition to the savings you’ll be receiving on bills from the utility company. And above all, solar systems increase overall NYC property values by approximately 5.4%.
If you’re seriously considering solar for your home, act quickly so that you can yield the full solar incentives while they last. (Plus, we think you deserve the extra bucks for prioritizing your environmental impact with renewable energy.)
Get started today to chat about which NY solar incentives you could be eligible for: Schedule a Consultation
Disclaimer: Brooklyn SolarWorks are not financial professionals. As much as we’ll always strive to provide our customers with the most accurate information regarding solar tax incentives, we are not tax experts. Please consult your tax advisor for guidance on filing for credits with respect to your specific circumstances.
If you’re looking for a solar installer in New York City, you may be wondering whether it’s best to choose a large, national solar company or a smaller local installer. Like any home improvement project, choosing the right contractor will determine the outcome and your overall customer satisfaction.
Here in New York City, solar energy installation is much different than the rest of the country, and requires certain expertise – and that’s where local installers come in! There are a number of benefits to using a local solar installer in NYC. Read to learn why.
Local Solar Installer vs. National Companies
The U.S. solar industry is a mix of large solar companies that install nationwide, and many smaller companies that install in different regions or metropolitan areas. Some of the big names you may come across when searching for solar installers are Sunrun, SunPower Solar, and Tesla Solar. Depending on your area, you’ll most likely also find a number of local and regional companies of varying sizes.
The type of solar installer you choose to work with is a big factor in determining your experience as a customer, as well as the solar energy system you end up with and how much it’ll cost. This is especially true in a place like New York City, where there are inherent system design challenges and lots of regulatory hoops to jump through.
The truth is, the national company that installs solar power in the suburbs of Texas, California, and Florida, is not going to have the design and regulatory expertise that a solar installer local to NYC does.
How to Know if a Solar Company is in Your Local Area
To know if a solar company is local or not, you can simply take a look at their service area and where their office is based. There are a number of different companies in the NYC metropolitan area that claim to be local to the five boroughs, but are based in Long Island, New Jersey, or upstate New York. Brooklyn SolarWorks has been based in and servicing NYC since it was founded.
Another clue is what a company’s work looks like. If you’re a resident of Park Slope, Bed-Stuy, or Harlem, you’re very familiar with what houses in your area look like: brownstones and townhouses attached to neighboring homes with, by and large, flat roofs. This is our bread and butter, and by taking a quick look around our website or social media, this will become clear.
Many of the larger regional and national companies feature photos of solar panels on suburban, single-family homes with shingled, pitched roofs detached from their neighbors (not the most common sight in the five boroughs).
Benefits of Working with a Local NYC Solar Installer
New York City’s architecture is as unique and diverse as its people. And for that reason, there are unique considerations to be made when installing a solar panel system here. Here are a few of the many benefits to using a local solar installer in NYC.
Personalized Service for NYC Homeowners
Being a local solar installer means more to us than simply servicing the five boroughs. It means developing unique designs that fit the needs of each customer. It means having an unmatched knowledge of city architecture, building codes, and FDNY regulations, and knowing how to navigate them to get each project done.
All of this allows us to provide unrivaled knowledge and service to our customers and an extremely high quality product. When you receive a proposal from us, it’s personalized to your home, roof, and energy needs. Because our team is headquartered in NYC, we have the ability to assess every home prior to proceeding with the installation.
In many cases, larger national companies will propose solar designs that end in canceled projects, regulatory issues, or additional expenses because they didn’t assess the roof or don’t know quite how to navigate NYC regulations. In other cases, customers are left in the lurch when issues come up after the installation.
Because we pride ourselves on providing feasible solar proposals from the jump, we’re able to reduce change orders and get all of the necessary permits through the regulatory process seamlessly. And once your system is up and running, we have staff on-call to help with any issues or questions you may have.
Local Knowledge of NYC Regulations and Incentives
Since 2015, we’ve specialized in residential, flat roof solar installations. And for us, it’s a turnkey process. That means it’s on us to obtain all of the necessary permits and approvals from various city entities prior to the installation.
You’d be surprised how many city agencies we’re required to get approvals from before installing a solar system – in fact, the entire process takes an average of three months from contract signing. From the FDNY, to the Department of Buildings, to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, to Con Edison, it’s a lot of paperwork. But we’ve developed an unparalleled mastery of all of it, and built strong working relationships with each agency. Over the years, we’ve managed to get the process down like clockwork.
Not only that, but we’re very knowledgeable when it comes to the unique financial incentives that are available to New York City homeowners who go solar. For example, there’s not only a federal solar tax credit, but also a NYS solar tax credit and a NYC property tax abatement too. Have questions about how net metering will change your energy costs and electric bills from Con Ed? Ask us!
Timely Installation and Customer Service
If timely, reliable service is what you’re looking for, local is the way to go. We can complete most solar panel installations within one to two days, depending on the project and weather. Should any issues arise during or after the installation, we’re just a quick drive away and will resolve it as soon as we can. Our proximity to our customers allows us to provide high quality installation, monitoring, and aftercare services that are unlike any other company in the area.
Unfortunately, bigger companies don’t always provide the same kind of service. We’ve heard many stories of people struggling to get in touch with these national companies when they have post-installation issues.
When you go solar with us, we’ll be monitoring your system’s performance 24/7 and will be ready to take your call if you ever have any questions or concerns about your system. It’s important to us to maintain good relationships with our customers for the long-term – we’re your neighbors after all!
Support for NYC Economy
Supporting local businesses is critical for the local economy. When you buy solar from us, you’re supporting a team of over 70 fellow New Yorkers and helping to create more job opportunities for others. Buying solar locally means not only investing in our mission to spread renewable energy, but also in the city as a whole.
Positive Environmental Impact for NYC Residents
Choosing to power your home with solar will significantly reduce your carbon footprint. But buying solar from a local company will maximize that impact. Buying locally reduces emissions, largely from transportation – our crews are coming to you from Gowanus, not from out in Long Island or New Jersey. Plus, most of our employees take public transit or bike to the office – which is powered by clean energy!
Not only that, but our leadership team is on the frontlines of New York solar policy, working to advance solar adoption throughout the city and state. Improving sustainability and climate resiliency in New York City is personal for us, and that’s why we do what we do.
National Companies Installing Solar in NYC
If you’re looking into solar in the NYC area, you’ll likely come across a few national solar companies that service the five boroughs. These companies might be:
- SunPower Solar (owner of regional dealers including Empower Solar, Kamtech Solar, and Sea Bright Solar)
- Tesla Solar
These big names are recognized as leaders in solar, but are also synonymous with “big box” solar and aggressive marketing tactics. We want to emphasize that solar in New York City is unique, and a big box approach is not the best fit. We’ve heard countless stories from customers that they were told by these companies, for example, that their flat roofs aren’t compatible with solar (they totally are) or that solar battery systems, like Tesla Powerwalls, are permitted (they are not yet allowed in NYC due to FDNY regulations).
If you’re a homeowner here, we urge you to speak with a local installer who understands your home and your city.
Start the Solar Process Today with a Local Installer!
Solar is an investment unlike any other home improvement project. It’s important to work with a contractor who will get your project done right, and make sure it provides the best return possible. In New York City, that means working with a local installer.
Brooklyn SolarWorks was founded in New York City, for New York City, and we’d love to help you go solar. Get started by scheduling a free consultation today!
Climate change is a pressing issue across the globe, and New York City is no exception. With its vast population and high vulnerability to natural disasters, NYC has been taking various steps to adapt to Earth’s changing climate.
One way NYC is preparing for the future is by developing climate resiliency plans. Read on to explore some of the climate resiliency plans that you may not know about (but should!).
What is a climate resiliency plan?
A climate resiliency plan is a comprehensive strategy developed by governments and organizations to mitigate climate-related risks. These plans outline measures to address the risks and vulnerabilities of climate change by switching to renewable energy sources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving infrastructure and community preparedness, and enhancing the natural systems that support urban areas.
What is the importance of climate resiliency?
Climate resiliency plans are crucial. They work by helping communities prepare for and withstand the impacts of climate change. By taking action now, cities can:
- Protect public health and safety
- Minimize economic losses
- Preserve natural resources
- Enhance social equity and justice
The Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency (MOCR) in NYC
The Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency (MOCR) was established in 2019 to lead the city’s efforts to prepare for the impacts of climate change in NYC. The office is responsible for developing and implementing climate resiliency strategies, coordinating with other city agencies, and engaging with communities to build resilience.
Vision Statement from the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency:
“The Mayor’s Office of Resiliency (MOR) strives to adapt New York City to the unprecedented challenge of climate change, creating a more resilient, equitable and vibrant city for the New Yorkers of today and generations to come.”
Benefits of a Climate Resiliency Plan
Manage Climate Risks
Climate resilience plans help manage the risks of extreme weather events, such as flooding and heat waves. By improving infrastructure, building sea walls and barriers, and relocating critical infrastructure away from high-risk areas now, we can mitigate these climate risks in NYC’s future.
Improve Electricity Access
Climate resilience plans can also improve access to electricity during natural disasters by promoting the development of distributed energy systems, such as microgrids and rooftop solar panels. Solar energy is an important part of NYC’s overarching climate resilience plans.
NYC has some of the highest electric rates in the country, making solar a very valuable alternative. We also have some of the best incentives for solar power in the country. This makes the switch to solar easier and more cost effective for homeowners in the NYC area. Get in touch with us to see how much you can save on your solar installation!
Clean Energy Transitions
Climate resilience initiatives can help accelerate the transition to clean energy sources like wind and solar power, by promoting policies (i.e. the United States government’s 2022 Climate Bill) and incentives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. New York provides many subsidies to help promote the adoption of solar. Visit our NY solar incentives page to learn more.
Reduce Damage and Costs
Naturally, by reducing the risks and impacts of natural disasters, climate resilience plans also help minimize the costs of damages to property, infrastructure, and human lives. Planning for our city’s future at this point is crucial.
NYC Resiliency Plans Happening Now
NYC Stormwater Resiliency Plan
As we’ve seen the past few years, extreme rainfall events have been causing major issues more frequently in NYC, and the trends are only showing an increase in precipitation. NYC’s Stormwater Resiliency Plan will help implement new policies for resilient stormwater management, change the city’s flash flood emergency response procedure, and more.
Wastewater Resiliency Plan
The NYC Wastewater Resiliency Plan is a comprehensive study that examined buildings and infrastructure (pumping stations and wastewater resource recovery facilities) to identify and prioritize infrastructure that is most at risk of flood damage. As a result of the study, there are now recommended design standards and cost-effective protective measures currently being implemented to mitigate flood risks.
Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency
Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency (LMCR) is the City’s plan to adapt Lower Manhattan to climate impacts, for this generation and the next. This plan will protect Manhattan from flooding via sea level rise and coastal storms. The plan will ensure the area’s continuity in serving the many businesses, residents, workers, visitors, and commuters in the area who rely heavily on its transit network and want to remain in their dynamic neighborhoods.
A “cloudburst” is defined as a sudden and violent rainstorm. This can cause major flooding that leads to property damage and pollute New York’s rivers, streams, and harbors. Having cloudburst management put in place gives us the opportunity to combat and minimize damage from these sudden floods. Cloudburst management implements a combination of methods that absorb, store, and transfer stormwater to minimize flooding from cloudburst events.
The Brooklyn Greenway stretches 26 miles along Brooklyn’s coastline and provides various different forms of climate resilience. The Greenway can help the state and city reach their goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (outlined in the NYC Climate Mobilization Act) by providing a convenient path for people to travel via walking or biking.
Since the Brooklyn Greenway passes through many areas in Brooklyn that are susceptible to flooding, it will also help mitigate these climate impacts. Just one of the many things that will create a more sustainable Brooklyn!
Play a Positive Role in Climate Change
Climate resiliency plans are vital for NYC’s preparedness and adaptation to the effects of climate change. They not only reduce risks and damages but also contribute to the city’s transition to a more sustainable and equitable future. As New Yorkers, increasing sustainability within NYC is one way we can support these plans.
Going solar is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint and create a more sustainable home. Plus, solar is easier and more affordable to install in NYC than you may think. See if your home qualifies today and help make NYC’s future more sustainable!
New York City has some of the best solar tax incentive offerings in the country, reducing the cost of most solar projects by up to 70%. One of these tax benefits is the NYC Property Tax Abatement, available for property owners within the five boroughs.
Unfortunately, the NYC Solar Property Tax Abatement is currently set to expire at the end of 2023. Read to learn more about this valuable incentive and how to take advantage of it before it goes away.
What is the NYC Solar Property Tax Abatement?
NYC’s Property Tax Abatement for Solar is an incentive unique to the five boroughs, meant to encourage the adoption of solar energy throughout the city.
NYC’s PTA for solar covers 20% of your solar panel installation costs. It reduces your property tax bill from the New York City Department of Finance by 5% of the cost of your system for 4 consecutive years. New Yorkers who install solar electric systems on both residential and commercial properties that they own can claim this abatement.
To be clear, this is not a tax exemption. This is a tax abatement, which lowers the amount of property taxes you owe by applying a credit (as opposed to reducing the property’s assessed value). The amount of the abatement is based on total installation costs, which includes the costs of solar PV equipment and labor.
How does the NYC Property Tax Abatement relate to solar?
NYC’s Solar Property Tax Abatement program was implemented to help support and incentivize solar installations in the city. This incentive was established in 2007 as part of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC initiative to create a more sustainable city.
Who is eligible for the Solar Property Tax Abatement?
Property owners who install solar on their property anywhere within the five boroughs are eligible to claim the solar PTA. This includes condo and co-op owners, and can apply to historic and landmark buildings as well.
Will it affect my eligibility for other solar tax incentives?
It’s important to note that claiming the NYC Solar PTA does not affect solar owners’ eligibility for other incentives. In addition to the 20% Property Tax Abatement, NYC residents who install solar can also claim:
- 30% Federal Income Tax Credit
- $5,000 New York State Solar Income Tax Credit
- $0.20 per Watt rebate from NYSERDA (deducted from upfront contract price)
- 20% Historic Homeownership Rehabilitation Credit (depending on your location)
What installation costs are eligible for the solar property tax abatement?
All costs involved with installing a solar electric generating system are eligible for the property tax abatement. This includes:
- Solar PV equipment
- Labor costs, including system design and installation
Any applicable rebates (like the NYS Solar Rebate) must be deducted from the total project cost before applying the abatement.
How to File for the NYC Solar Property Tax Abatement
Typically, you’d file for solar tax credits on your own when you do your federal and state tax returns. However, the NYC PTA for solar is different – when you go solar with us, we’ll file for the abatement on your behalf with the New York City Department of Buildings during the permitting process.
When is the deadline to file?
The Department of Buildings determines eligibility for the abatement, but the Department of Finance administers it. New York’s fiscal year for property taxes runs from July 1 to June 30. Applications must be received by March 15th in order for the abatement to take effect within the same calendar year.
Although no action is required on your part, you can take a look at the Department of Buildings’s Form PTA4 if you’re interested in seeing what information will be filed.
Get Started with Solar to Claim Your Property Tax Abatement
New York City’s Solar Property Tax Abatement is an incredibly valuable incentive for property owners to install solar, reducing your project costs by 20%. Find out if your home is right for solar today:
Following major changes to California’s net metering program, you may be wondering if the current net metering system could be going away in New York too. At a time when major solar states like California are making policy decisions that devalue home solar, New York’s policies could be brought into question too.
Read to learn about what happened in California and what it means for Con Edison’s net metering program in New York City.
What is net metering?
Simply put, net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar owners for electricity that they export into the grid.
As a residential solar owner in NYC, you remain connected to the grid. After your solar PV system is installed, Con Edison will keep track how much energy is flowing in and out of your home.
During the daytime, your solar system will likely produce a lot more energy than your home actually needs. All of that excess energy feeds back into the grid, and you’ll receive credits for it on your future Con Ed bills. These credits are then used up at times when your home needs more energy than your solar system is currently supplying, like at night or on a very rainy day.
What are the financial benefits of net metering?
Through this program, NYC solar owners are able to bank a ton of credits during the summertime and see their bills drastically reduced all year-round. The current system in NYC values solar at the retail rate, meaning your solar power is just as valuable as grid electricity and will increase in value over time as retail rates rise.
Net metering in its current form could be considered a virtual battery – it allows you to utilize the full value of your solar production even when the sun isn’t shining. This is important because FDNY currently does not allow solar batteries in residential settings. Net metering ensures New Yorkers benefit financially from all of the energy their solar systems produce.
Is net metering the same for all states?
Net metering programs differ across the country, as they’re determined by states and utility companies. In some arrangements, like here in New York City, Con Edison values solar at the retail rate. Other programs, however, value solar at less than retail or at a predetermined amount.
Unfortunately, as interest in home solar grows across the US, net metering policies from state to state have been under scrutiny.
What happened to California’s net metering program?
For a long time, special interests and opponents to solar have been attempting to enact changes to California’s net metering program. Previously, there was a proposal to implement a monthly charge of up to $50 for solar owners – essentially a solar tax.
While that proposal was not approved, in December of 2022, California’s Public Utilities Commission approved a plan to reduce the value of solar exported into the power grid by an average of 75% (!). This new policy will affect customers who install solar systems starting in April 2023 in the service areas of CA’s three investor-owned utility companies – 75% of the state’s population.
Under the new policy, Californians won’t be able to reap the benefits of net metering – instead, they’ll be subject to “net billing.” Net billing compensates solar owners on an avoided-cost basis, meaning the utility decides how valuable the power export is based on when and where it’s produced.
Needless to say, this policy change is a major blow to California’s solar industry. It drastically reduces the immediate savings that families receive from installing solar, and increases the payback period by several years. As a result, home solar will be far less affordable and accessible to California residents – at a time when climate-related natural disasters continue to escalate and energy costs continue to rise.
What does this mean for New York’s net metering policies?
Policy changes like California’s represent a growing trend of efforts to reduce the growth of solar in the US, often influenced by political opponents and utility and fossil fuel interests. In recent years, states such as Nevada, Hawaii, Florida, and North Carolina have all seen similar proposals and bills meant to undermine solar.
New York is no stranger to uncertain solar policy either. The state’s utilities have sought to change net metering here too – most recently, a monthly solar tax from Con Edison was implemented for new solar owners as of January 2022.
For now, net metering in New York City is safe. But there have been changes, and there will likely be more. If California – the largest solar market in the country – can enact anti-solar policies like this one, it’s not implausible that it could happen here too.
Go Solar Now to Lock in 20 Years of Savings
It’s not all bad news though! If you’re considering solar for your home in NYC, the benefits of net metering are still available to you. If you go solar now, you’ll be locked into Con Ed’s current net metering arrangement for the next 20 years. So, even if there’s a chance that net metering could go away in New York, your savings will be safe.
Get ahead of the uncertainty and go solar now! Schedule your free consultation & learn if your home qualifies for solar.
If you’re a resident of New York City, you’re likely a customer of Con Edison. And you most likely didn’t have a choice in the matter! We won’t sugarcoat it – if you’re looking for alternatives to Con Edison in NYC, there’s unfortunately not many. Read on to learn about why this is, and why solar is the key to energy independence for New Yorkers.
New York Energy Rates
Compared to the rest of the country, New Yorkers are very energy efficient. Yet, New York energy rates are some of the highest electricity rates anywhere in the US. Why is that?
New York City uses the majority of the state’s electricity in a small, densely populated area. Demand for energy is very high in an area that cannot supply it through local power plants, meaning power must come from further upstate. On top of that, NYC’s energy infrastructure is complex and largely outdated, meaning Con Ed is continually making upgrades – the costs of which are passed onto consumers.
Combine that with the fact that the majority of the state’s electricity is powered by fossil fuels, you’re going to get high Con Ed bills (that only continue to get higher).
Why Shop NYC Energy Suppliers?
When it comes to electricity rates, there’s two different factors to keep in mind: delivery and supply. Con Edison is responsible for delivering New York City’s electricity, meaning they transport it to your home and maintain the city’s energy infrastructure to keep power flowing. On the other hand, supply refers to where your power actually comes from.
Con Ed has control over delivery charges: the costs associated with transporting your electricity. However, it does not have control over supply costs, which was the main driver behind the most recent Con Ed bill increases – as the war in Ukraine threatened US energy supply, consumers saw the price of energy rise across the board.
Con Ed may not have control over supply costs, but you do. Rather than purchasing your energy supply from Con Edison, you can choose to use an energy service company (ESCO) or produce it yourself by installing solar panels on your home.
The benefits of looking into these Con Ed alternatives are clear:
- Cut down on monthly electricity bills
- Gain energy independence
- Power your home with clean energy
Con Ed Alternatives for NYC
If you’re shopping around for alternative utility companies in NYC, you may come across the name PSEG. Be advised: this is the utility responsible for delivering electricity to Long Island and parts of the Rockaways. By and large, it is not available as an alternative option for New Yorkers.
You might come across the name National Grid if you’re shopping around, or may even be a customer already. National Grid is a supplier of gas, not electricity. Depending on where you live in the city, your home or building’s heating system and appliances may be powered by gas from National Grid. But it is not an option as an electric utility.
Energy Service Company (ESCO)
One of your main alternatives to Con Edison is choosing to use an ESCO. ESCOs are companies that supply electricity and natural gas to residences in New York, often offering lower rates, fixed costs, or clean energy options. If you search for ESCOs in Brooklyn, you’ll see an extensive list of providers with various offers.
ESCOs often seem like an attractive option to Con Ed customers who want to cut costs and reduce their use of fossil fuels. But if you’re looking for an ESCO, it’s important to be discerning about the arrangement you’re getting into. Be aware that they can often be more expensive than retail rates, and may not guarantee fixed rates. They may entice you with the possibility of using clean energy, but may not be upfront about where their energy actually comes from.
If you choose to use an ESCO, you’ll still receive bills from Con Edison. ESCOs only change where you get your energy from, not how it’s delivered. ESCOs are an alternative if you’d like to change your power source, but don’t give you a ton of independence.
If you’re a homeowner in NYC, the best alternative to Con Edison is home solar. When you install solar on your home, you become your own energy provider. No fees, no contracts – just clean energy from the sun, powering your home for decades.
Through a program called net metering, you can export excess electricity that your solar system produces back into the grid and Con Ed will compensate you through retail credits on your monthly energy bills. This way, the average residential customer in NYC can not only completely cover their energy needs, but also bank credits that are usable for 20 years (!).
We’ve helped over 1,500 homes in NYC switch to solar and unlock decades of energy savings. Want to know if your home is right for solar? Schedule your free consultation & home assessment today.
Benefits of Renewable Energy
At the end of the day, a major factor in rising energy costs is the volatility of fossil fuel prices. Around 70 percent of NYC’s energy supply comes from natural gas, and until that changes, utility costs will continue to get more expensive and fluctuate with energy market conditions.
As a homeowner, making investments in renewable energy isn’t just good for the environment – it’s a smart financial move too. Benefits include:
- Cutting down on monthly electricity bills
- Reducing your personal carbon footprint
- Gaining energy independence
- Collecting government tax credits
- Raising your home value
Learn More About Solar Energy
Unfortunately, there are not many alternatives to Con Edison in NYC. But if you’re a homeowner looking to cut costs and make your home more sustainable, look no further than solar energy.
Interested in learning about what solar power could do for your home? Schedule your free consultation & home assessment today.
Winter is coming…so what does that mean for your residential solar panels (and your wallet)?
Here in New York City, the winter months bring more than just cold weather – they also bring snow. Luckily, snow on solar panels doesn’t have as big of an impact on energy production as most people think! Read on to learn about the effects snow has on solar panels, how to take care of your panels this winter, and how winter compares to the other seasons.
Do Solar Panels Work When They Are Covered In Snow?
Do solar panels work with snow on them? Short answer: if your solar array is ever fully covered by anything (including a thick layer of snow), solar production will be limited.
When it comes to snow, if the layer is thick enough, it could cease energy generation for a short period of time. But even if this happens, the snow’s impact on your energy generation is pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things. If you find that your solar panels are fully covered, you now have two choices: you can take the snow off yourself or let Mother Nature do the work!
Do I Need to Clear Snow From My Solar Panels?
Your solar panels are covered by a layer of snow, what should you do? Our recommended method of snow removal is to simply let the snow melt off naturally. Our solar systems are made to withstand extreme weather conditions, including heavy snowstorms. So you don’t have to worry about how long your solar panels will last or how much energy they’ll produce even when there’s heavy snow cover on top of them.
Remember: the power you may miss out on during a snowstorm is minimal. It’s not worth risking a trip up to an icy rooftop.
Solar cells are designed to attract and trap sun rays. With their dark and reflective surface, solar panels are about 36°F warmer than the outside temperature. With this generated heat, snow tends to melt at a faster pace than usual. Pair this with the angle of your solar panels and the snow should slide off relatively quickly without any help at all! Since the snow doesn’t stay as long, you should see very little impact to your overall electricity generation.
Another added benefit to letting the snow melt naturally is that your solar panels essentially get a free cleaning! Any dirt that is stuck on your panels will bond to the snow and wash away as the snow melts. Pretty cool, right?
Can The Same Amount of Solar Energy Be Generated in the Winter?
A solar myth that goes around every winter is: solar doesn’t work when it isn’t sunny.
Seasonal solar panel performance is a common question, and the short answer is that each season has its pros and cons for energy generation. Even though the days are shorter in the winter, solar panels tend to work more efficiently in the cold. This is due to the solar panels’ “peak temperatures.” What this means is that if a solar panel goes over its peak temp (about 77°F) their efficiency for producing electricity decreases. This is less likely to happen during the winter months. The lack of direct sunlight and rise in solar panel efficiency tend to balance each other out!
New York residents also have the advantage of net metering! Net metering takes all the unused energy you create and sends it to the grid for others to use. When this happens, you’re rewarded with energy “credits” from your utility provider. Net metering is a great way to keep your electric bill balanced all year-round.
Want to learn more on how you can be rewarded with energy credits this year? Schedule a free consultation today.
Are Snow Guards Necessary for Solar Panels?
Solar panels have a glass surface which is essentially frictionless. This can cause snow to release and slide off your roof. Having heavy snowfall can be a hazard to your gutters, landscaping, and people just passing by. In areas that have moderate snowfall, solar panels tend to melt the snow off before it collects enough to become dangerous.
To prevent this, many folks opt to use a snow guard on their roof. This is a device installed above the edge of a sloped roof to block snow from falling. One of the main considerations here is the slope of your roof: pitched roofs are the most common roofs for solar panels to be installed, and most likely to have this issue.
But in NYC, there are also a lot of flat roofed homes with solar as well. For flat roofs or low sloped roofs, snow guards are generally not necessary.
Solar Panels Are A Great Renewable Energy Solution Year Round
Even in a winter wonderland, the advantages of solar panels are endless. Energy is generated through sunlight, not the heat the sun produces. So as long as there’s sunlight hitting your panels, your home will be generating solar power!
Generating energy, improving your home, and reducing your carbon footprint are just a few of the excellent benefits of solar. Not only are solar panels a cost-effective solution anytime of the year but, solar panel maintenance in the winter weather is easier than anyone gives them credit for as well.
Don’t let a little snow get in the way of your savings! Schedule a free consultation today to start your journey towards energy independence.
For New York City homeowners, solar power is an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint and avoid rising electricity rates. In most cases, solar panels can completely power your NYC house, meeting your family’s energy needs and then some. But the output of your solar system can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors.
In this article, we’ll break down what you need to know about solar production in NYC.
How does solar energy work on NYC’s Brownstones?
A solar energy system on a NYC brownstone works just the same as it does on any other home. The solar panels on your roof absorb sunlight, generating direct current (DC) electricity. The DC electricity is converted into alternating current (AC) electricity by your system’s inverter and distributed through your home’s main electrical panel. Any unused electricity will be exported into the grid, and Con Ed will compensate you for it on your next electric bill through a system called net metering.
Calculating How Many Solar Panels it Takes to Power a Home
The easiest way to determine the potential size of your home’s solar system is by talking to a trusted solar installer to get an accurate estimate (we provide custom proposals for free!). But if you’d like to do some quick math on your own, you’ll need three key pieces of information:
- Your annual electricity usage
- The wattage of your potential solar panels
- The production ratio of your solar system
With these numbers, you can use the formula below to estimate how many panels you’ll need:
Number of panels = system size / production ratio / panel wattage
Annual Energy Usage
Your annual energy usage is how much electricity your home uses in one year, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). You can get this information from Con Edison. This number varies from home to home based on how many lights, appliances, and electronics you’re running and how frequently – for example, if you’re using a home EV charger to power your car every night, your usage will reflect that.
Ideally, your solar system will offset 100% of your home’s energy consumption, so this number is key in determining how many panels you’ll need.
Solar Panel Wattage and Output
The wattage of a solar panel is its expected output under ideal conditions, measured in Watts (W). The higher the wattage, the more powerful the panel. Most panels on the market today are between 250 and 400 Watts, but vary in productivity due to solar panel efficiency. For the purposes of this calculation, it’s important to know overall how much energy your panels can produce.
A solar panel system’s production ratio is its projected amount of kWh produced in one year divided by its total wattage. This ratio largely depends on how much sunlight your system is exposed to over the course of a year, which differs depending on geographic location. In the United States, typical production ratios are somewhere between 1.3 and 1.6.
Other Factors that Impact Your Solar Panel System
The formula above can help give you a rough estimate of your system size. But in a lot of situations, it’s not quite as clear cut. Achieving 100% offset through solar power can vary depending on a number of factors, especially here in New York City.
Roof Size and Orientation
The roofs of New York City are as unique as its people are. Roof space varies: any given home could have an assortment of skylights, hatches, HVAC equipment, garden beds, and more. Depending on how your roof is set up, this could affect how many panels can reasonably fit considering other factors like the fire path.
Needless to say, we have to get creative! For this reason, we only survey our customers’ roofs in-person – no virtual estimates here. Schedule a free consultation to get started.
How Many Square Feet Your Home Is
When it comes to energy usage, the size of your home may have an impact on how much solar power you’ll need. Larger homes typically have more lights and more appliances, and also require more power to heat and cool.
Hours of Sunlight Your Home Receives
The amount of sunlight your home receives depends on the time of year – naturally, we receive less sun in the winter versus the summer, meaning you’ll see less peak sunlight hours. Shade is also an important component of determining solar viability, especially in NYC. Because everything is built so close together here, it’s common to receive shade from taller buildings and trees. But every roof is unique, and in most cases, solar still makes sense.
Proper Installation of Solar Power
Because of the many external factors at play, like shading and fire code, it’s important to work with an installer who knows how to work around potential hindrances and maximize solar production. Unfortunately, many installers who work in the area do not specialize in NYC roofs. But for us, they’re our bread and butter – we’ve spent years honing our craft and our working hard to install solar wherever possible in NYC.
Usage of Quality Solar Panels
Like any manufactured product, not all solar panels are created equal. The material used in the manufacturing of a solar panel affects how it converts sunlight into electricity. The wiring, busing, and glass used in the construction of a panel can affect its performance as well.
The Average Number of Solar Panels on NYC’s Brownstones
To reiterate, every roof and home in NYC is different – thus, we do not provide quotes or proposed system designs with exact numbers without performing an in-person assessment first.
But to give you an idea of how many solar panels could power your house, we offer two mounting options: a canopy and a tilt rack. A solar canopy elevates the panels nine feet above the roof surface to avoid the fire path and any obstructions. Tilt racks are installed closer to the roof surface and split solar arrays into sections, working around obstructions.
A solar canopy is the larger system option – typically consisting of 21 or more solar panels. Tilt rack systems are smaller, with around 15 panels. The actual system size is subject to change depending on your roof and clean energy needs.
Now is the Time to Power Your NYC Home with a Solar System
Residential solar power is an incredibly valuable renewable energy source for New Yorkers. In most cases, solar panels can completely power the average home in NYC, allowing you to say goodbye to Con Ed bills and reduce your carbon footprint too.
Ready to start your solar journey? Schedule a free consultation to get started.
Electric vehicles are quickly becoming a mainstay in New York transportation. If you depend on cars to get you from point A to point B, swapping out your gasoline-powered vehicle for an electric car is a great way to save on fuel costs and cut your personal emissions. What’s more, charging an electric car with solar panels is the cleanest, most cost-effective way to fuel your ride.
Considering investing in an electric car and wondering how solar EV charging works? Here’s what you need to know.
How does solar EV charging work?
If you’ve installed an EV charger in your home, you’ve essentially brought the gas station to you – no more trips to the pump in order to fuel your car. Your EV charger is connected to your home’s power, so if your home is powered by solar panels: congrats! You’ve got a solar powered car.
Solar EV charging is relatively simple. All you need to charge your EV at home with solar is: an active solar system, an EV charger, and, of course, your electric vehicle. Your solar panel system will produce AC electricity to be distributed throughout your home by your main electrical panel. This power will feed into your EV charger, and therefore your EV.
How much energy do you need to charge your EV?
Though solar EV charging is a simple process, there are some variables to consider. One of these is how efficient your home solar system will be for EV charging. Charging your vehicle will consume a considerable amount of energy, so it’s important to take the size of your solar system into account.
If you’re looking into solar panels for your home and see EV charging as part of your future, be sure to note this with your solar installer. If you already have an EV charger and you’re adding solar into the equation, be sure to collect a few months of data on your energy usage – this will help your solar installer to calculate exactly how much extra power you’ll need.
Another factor to consider is how often you’ll be driving your EV. There are different charging options available, depending on your needs.
Level 1 Charging
A Level 1 EV charger is a standard charging cord that comes with most EV purchases, and plugs into a typical wall outlet. These chargers are the slowest of the options available, but can work just fine if you don’t drive very often. These are also good to bring with you in case you need a charge while you’re out.
Level 2 Charging
If you drive everyday, you’ll probably want to consider installing a Level 2 charger in your home. Level 2 chargers operate on 240-volt power, performing up to 8 times faster than Level 1 chargers. Level 2 chargers do require a more complex electrical setup than Level 1, so you may want to hire an electrician to complete the job. Needless to say, Level 2 chargers are more expensive than Level 1, but may be well worth it!
Level 3 or Direct Current (DC) Charging
The fastest EV charging option is Level 3, which uses DC electricity for maximum efficiency. However, Level 3 charging is only available in some public charging stations, like Tesla’s Superchargers, and not for home use due to its high voltage nature.
Combined Solar Inverter and EV Charger
Recent technological developments have led to the creation of combined solar inverter and EV charging units. In this case, your rooftop solar system would feed directly into your EV, bypassing the electric panel. Because this is a newer technology, there are limited options on the market, and they’re generally the most expensive of the home charging systems.
Can rooftop solar panels charge an electric car?
The short answer is: yes! Using your home’s solar panels to charge your EV is the cleanest and most environmentally friendly way of doing so.
One of the common arguments against EVs is that you can’t always control the power source – so if your neighborhood charging station is powered by fossil fuels, then your car is too. But a solar installation and EV charger in your home solves that problem completely.
If you plan to charge your EV with your solar panels, you should note this with your solar installer, as it will be an important factor in determining the size of your solar energy system. We’ve helped a number of customers switch to solar while factoring in EV charging, and even have a few charging stations of our own! Talk to one of our solar experts today.
How many solar panels does it take to charge an electric car?
The number of panels it takes to charge an electric vehicle can vary depending on a number of factors, like panel type, EV model, your vehicle use, and weather conditions. For that reason, it could take anywhere between 5 and 12 panels to fully charge an electric vehicle.
When considering a solar powered EV charging set up, it’s best to get the advice of your solar installer to determine the best course of action and maximize your production.
Solar Charging vs. Other Charging Options Costs
Regardless of your charging source, fueling your car with electricity is cheaper than buying gas. A study released in March 2022 estimated that electric vehicles are now 3 to 6 times cheaper in the United States than their gas-powered counterparts. Check out the chart below for the average cost per mile of some of the most popular gas-powered cars (left) and electric vehicles (right) on the market.
When you own an EV, you have two charging options at your disposal: public and home charging. Public charging gives you the ability to plug into commercial stations whenever you’re out and about or on a road trip. Some public stations may be free, but generally they charge per kWh of charge to your car’s battery or on a time basis. The cost of public charging is much more variable, and generally higher than charging at home.
By and large, home charging is the cheaper option. The cost will depend on your home’s electricity rates, which can, of course, increase overtime. This is why the value of charging your EV with solar power cannot be understated. The average cost of solar energy is much cheaper than grid electricity over time, and also stays consistent across the lifetime of the system.
Purchasing solar panels to pair with your EV charger simply means buying many years of fuel upfront – and puts you in control of the cost, rather than being at the whim of volatile fossil fuels prices.
Electric Vehicle Incentives in NYC
Thanks to President Biden’s 2022 federal climate bill, all Americans are now eligible for a $7,500 tax credit for purchasing a new EV and $4,000 for a used vehicle.
As a New York State resident, you’ll also be able to take advantage of NY’s Drive Clean Rebate. As part of the state’s Charge NY initiative, drivers can save $2,000 on the purchase or lease of a new eligible electric car.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint with a Solar Powered Car
EVs and rooftop solar panels are the perfect pair. Each is great on its own – but when combined, you’ll truly maximize your environmental impact and your savings.
Ready to reduce your carbon footprint with solar energy? Schedule a free consultation with NYC’s local experts today.
When it comes to energy, efficiency is the word. The efficiency of your home’s power source makes an impact on both your electric bills and your carbon footprint.
If you’re investing in solar power for your home in NYC, it’s important to consider the efficiency of the solar panels that’ll be installed on your roof. Solar panel efficiency is an important factor in determining the ROI of your solar installation and how much of your home’s energy needs will be covered.
What is solar panel efficiency?
Solar panel efficiency is a measure of how much of the sun’s energy can be converted into electricity through photovoltaics. In other words: if a solar panel is rated at 18% efficiency, that means 18% of the sunlight that shines on the panel will be converted to usable electricity. Solar panel efficiency depends largely on material, size, and PV cell design and configuration.
The higher the efficiency rating, the better. Recent breakthroughs in solar technology have significantly improved solar panel efficiency – the most efficient solar panels on the market today are rated at over 22% efficiency (up from an average of 15%). Most PV panels today sit at around 20% efficiency.
In May 2022, researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory created a solar cell with a world record 39.5% efficiency rating. Exciting stuff!
Here at Brooklyn SolarWorks, we’re proud to provide REC solar panels, which see efficiency ratings of over 22%.
How efficient are solar panels as an energy source in NYC?
Solar panels are an incredibly efficient, affordable source of energy in NYC. New York has immense solar potential, and solar PV technology continues improving all the time.
While it’s true that right now fossil fuels are more efficient than solar panels based on the numbers alone, it’s important to consider other factors as well. Solar energy is and always will be readily available, for instance, and doesn’t come with the environmental costs of burning coal or oil. 15 to 20 percent efficiency may not seem like much, but panels on the market today provide plenty of power for the average NYC home.
Plus, as any New Yorker knows, Con Ed bills continue to rise. Fossil fuel prices will always be subject to the volatility of the global market, while solar is virtually free and unlimited. For these reasons, the value and advantages of solar energy in NYC cannot be understated.
What types of solar panels are most efficient?
The efficiency of a solar panel depends greatly on the type of material used. There are three main types of solar panels: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin film. Crystalline panels are more efficient than thin film, with monocrystalline panels being the highest efficiency.
Which factors determine the efficiency of solar panels in NYC?
As with any manufactured product, not all solar panels are created equal. Here are a few factors that make an efficient panel.
Panel Material and Construction
The material used in the manufacturing of a solar panel affects how it converts sunlight into electricity. Monocrystalline solar panels, made from a single crystal of silicon, are the most efficient type of panel, followed by polycrystalline solar panels and thin-film. The wiring, busing, and glass used in the construction of a panel can affect its performance as well.
Temperature and Weather Conditions
Higher temperatures and adverse weather conditions can reduce the efficiency of a solar panel. During a heatwave or a blizzard, you may see a decrease in the output of your solar PV system. Luckily, NYC doesn’t experience the most extreme of weather conditions – but choosing panels that optimize seasonal solar performance can be beneficial.
Our go-to panel provider, REC, has designed high-efficiency solar panels with an industry-leading temperature coefficient. This optimizes solar cell efficiency and sees greater power output in hotter climates.
Positioning and Angle of Panel Installation
Needless to say, solar panels work best when they’re getting the most direct sunlight. South-facing panels will see the best output. The position of the panels on your roof also makes a difference in how much sunlight they receive, especially in NYC. Here, there are often greater opportunities for shade from nearby trees and adjacent buildings.
That’s why it’s important to work with an installer that knows how to maximize solar performance on NYC homes. Here at Brooklyn SolarWorks, we complete free site assessments for every customer to determine the optimal positioning for every solar energy system.
Solar Panel Degradation
Though you can expect your solar panels to provide you with clean energy for decades, they will likely degrade overtime. Solar panel degradation is a natural process that occurs over the lifetime of the technology, due to uncontrollable factors like chemical processes and extreme temperatures. Solar panels with a lower degradation rate will see higher efficiency and better performance over the long term.
Solar Panel Efficiency Continues to Improve in NYC’s Boroughs
Solar panels are a valuable source of energy for New Yorkers, and photovoltaic technology is improving everyday. Since 2015, Brooklyn SolarWorks has been working to spread solar throughout the city, providing custom solutions that maximize performance.
Ready to get started? Schedule a free consultation today.
If you’re looking into solar power for your home, you may have questions about how long you can expect your solar panels to last. You may have heard that solar requires a lot of maintenance, or that you’ll have to throw your panels out after a few years.
The good news is that when you go solar, you can expect your solar panels to last a long time with little to no maintenance – decades, in fact! Read on to learn the real deal on solar panel lifespan and degradation.
What is the typical lifespan of solar panels?
The average lifespan of solar panels is about 25 to 30 years. But it’s important to remember that a solar panel’s “lifespan” is only representative of how long they’re expected to produce at max efficiency – not when they’ll go out of service completely. By year 25, high quality panels will still be producing at 90%+ efficiency, but you may begin to see a downtick in power output in the coming years.
This means that you can expect to continue relying on your panels for much longer than their predicted lifespan. In fact, there are solar systems installed back in the 1980s that are still operational!
What is solar degradation?
Though you can expect your solar panels to provide you with clean energy for decades, they will likely degrade overtime. Solar panel degradation is a natural process that occurs over the lifetime of the technology, due to uncontrollable factors like chemical processes and extreme temperatures.
All solar panel models come with a measured degradation rate. A lower degradation rate means better performance and greater output overtime.
What causes solar degradation and inefficiencies in NYC?
Some of the most common forms of degradation are naturally occurring mechanical or chemical processes, such as light-induced degradation (LID). Exposure to direct sunlight and UV radiation for the first time can cause chemical reactions that create slight inefficiencies before stabilizing overtime. Potential-induced degradation (PID) can cause voltage leaks if two of the panel’s components operate at different voltages.
Extreme Weather Conditions
Over the course of a solar panel’s lifetime on a roof in NYC, it’ll stand strong against many types of weather. But heatwaves, hurricanes, and snowstorms all have the potential to increase the rate of aging-related degradation if dramatic changes in temperature or high winds cause any damage. Seasonal solar panel performance is generally not something to be worried about, but there are rare instances where this could occur.
Manufacturing and Installation Issues
Like any manufactured product or appliance, solar panel system performance can suffer due to manufacturing or installation issues, like poor workmanship, mishandling, and the use of low quality materials. This is why it’s important to choose a solar provider that invests in high quality panels and top-notch installers.
Does the manufacturer play a role in degradation?
As with any industry, not all solar panel manufacturers are the same. Unfortunately, some try to cut costs by using low quality or incompatible materials, or fail to assemble panels correctly. Thankfully, this is quite rare, and most manufacturers provide warranties. But when you go solar, it’s important to take note of what kind of panels your solar power company chooses to use.
The solar industry uses a tiering system to rate the overall quality of solar panel models, and solar panel degradation rate is a major factor in that ranking. Tier 1 solar panels, the highest quality on the market, have a degradation rate of no more than 0.3% per year. This equates to an excellent 93% efficiency by year 25. Tier 2 panels are around a 0.5% rate of degradation, while Tier 3 is 0.8% or more.
Tier 1 and Tier 2 panels are both terrific options for long-term performance, though Tier 1 will be slightly better in the long run. To maximize your return on investment, it’s important to choose a solar installer that uses high quality solar panels. REC, our go-to panel provider, boasts degradation rates of only 0.25% per year.
Are you an NYC homeowner ready to make the switch to solar energy? Schedule a free consultation today.
Do you have to replace solar panels over time?
Reaching your 25th solar anniversary doesn’t automatically mean that it’s time for panel replacement. Unless your panels have incurred significant physical damage by that time, they’ll still be generating quite a bit of energy. Though you may begin to notice a slight downtick in energy production overtime, you’ll still be able to rely on your solar energy system as a source of electricity for your home for many years to come.
Does your solar system need regular maintenance?
Solar panel maintenance is a breeze. With no moving parts to actively keep an eye on, solar panels are very reliable and worry-free.
Cleaning is not required, as Mother Nature can typically take care of any dirt or debris that may build up. Removing snow and ice is not required or recommended, as the power loss during a snowstorm is quite minimal and it can be dangerous. However, you can choose to clean your panels if you please – try to avoid any harsh detergents or brushes that could damage the glass.
As with any technology, however, it’s always good to check in from time to time. When you go solar with Brooklyn SolarWorks, you’ll receive access to our 24/7 monitoring system which allows you to track your system’s output and determine if there are any issues. And we’ll do the same – our team actively monitors our entire fleet of solar installations should any issues arise.
Want to learn more about our customer service and system monitoring? Schedule a free consultation today.
Can you extend the life of your solar panels?
While there’s no real way to improve the technological efficiency of your panels after they’re installed, the best way to ensure long-term performance and ROI is to invest in high quality panels that are installed with care from the get-go. If you choose a reputable solar provider, you’ll most likely have little to no issues for the lifetime of your solar panels.
What happens to your solar panels after 30 years?
When solar panels reach the end of their energy-producing lifetime – whether that’s year 25, 30 or 40 – they’re still valuable. Solar panels can be broken down and recycled to create new panels, solar batteries, or other electronics.
Maintaining Your Solar Panels in NYC
Overall, solar is a reliable, long-lasting form of energy that requires very little maintenance. Even considering the reality of solar degradation, it’s still an excellent investment for your home and the environment. Once your panels are installed, you’re looking at decades of clean energy to come.
Brooklyn SolarWorks has been NYC’s trusted solar provider since 2015. We want to help you make the switch to clean energy! Get in touch today.
Signed into law by President Joe Biden on August 16th, the Inflation Reduction Act is a huge win for the planet and the renewable energy industry. Here’s what this landmark climate bill means for the future of clean energy in the U.S.
Background of the 2022 Climate Bill
Climate action was a major component of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ campaign platform. Originally, the White House wanted to include climate provisions in what was called the Build Back Better Act, but this legislation failed to progress through Congress.
Senate Democrats then set out to pass Build Back Better in pieces, to cover priority issues like healthcare, tax reform, and fighting global warming. Sen. Joe Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the Senate’s two swing votes, presented significant obstacles to passing any reform in these areas. In July, things looked grim for climate action when Sen. Manchin announced that he would not be supporting any new legislation for renewables and climate change.
But after months of negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Manchin, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was proposed – a budget package aimed at curbing inflation, reducing healthcare costs, reforming tax code, and investing in clean energy. After an amendment by Sen. Sinema, the bill passed the Senate vote and the House of Representatives’ vote along party lines.
This sweeping budget bill ultimately invests a historic $369 billion in clean energy and fighting climate change.
What is in the new climate bill?
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 includes $369 billion in climate-related investments – the largest federal investment in renewable energy in the history of the United States.
The bill will use billions of dollars in tax incentives to boost the adoption of clean energy and energy efficient technologies, with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030.
Here’s what’s covered by the new tax incentives.
The climate package invests billions of dollars into expanding the manufacturing and adoption of renewable energy. It provides production and investment tax credits to ramp up U.S. manufacturing of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, and electric vehicles.
The bill also provides tax credits for consumers who invest in clean tech, including rooftop solar! More on this below.
The bill includes a $4,000 tax credit for lower and middle income individuals to purchase used electric cars, and a $7,500 tax credit for new vehicles.
Heat Pumps, Electric Water Heaters, and Other Clean Tech
The package provides tax credits to consumers who add clean technologies to their houses with the goal of helping the American people reduce their energy costs and the use of fossil fuels. These include heat pumps, electric water heaters, and electric HVAC.
Plus, there will be additional rebates and grants for low-income households and affordable housing to make energy efficient upgrades.
What does this mean for the Federal Solar Income Tax Credit?
We’re excited to say that the Inflation Reduction Act includes an extension and expansion of the Solar Investment Tax Credit! The ITC, or Federal Solar Tax Credit, has been instrumental in the growth of the solar industry since its inception in 2005.
When it was originally passed in 2005, the federal tax credit covered 30% of the cost of a home solar installation. However, it’s seen a decline over the years: it was at 26% this year, and was set to drop to 22% in 2023 before going away completely in 2024.
Luckily, this new climate bill has restored the ITC at 30% and extended it for 10 more years. It’s also retroactive, applying to any installation that occurred after December 31, 2021.
This is huge news: any residential solar installation that has taken place in 2022 or takes place over the next decade is now eligible to get 30% of their costs back on their income taxes.
What does this mean for New Yorkers looking to go solar?
The 30% Federal Tax Credit will make it that much easier for homeowners across the country to switch to solar power. But for homeowners in New York City, that’s not all!
New York City is home to some of the richest solar incentive offerings in the country. This means that New Yorkers going solar can now claim the new 30% tax credit on top of the many NY solar incentives provided by the city and state, too. As a result, the average solar installation in NYC could see its costs reduced by up to 70%!
Now’s the Time to Go Solar
Needless to say, it’s an exciting time for solar energy. With the passing of this historic legislation, the federal government is giving clean energy the endorsement that so many activists and industry leaders have been fighting for. Clean energy is the future – join us!
With the new 30% credit available now, we’re expecting to see a huge uptick in demand for solar in NYC.
Get ahead of the rush and secure your tax credit now. Schedule a free consultation today!
Are you considering solar, but have some concerns about how your system will hold up in the winter or during a hurricane? If you are, you’re not alone. Here in NYC, we experience a broad range of weather throughout the year, and it’s an important factor to consider.
It’s normal to have some reservations about investing in solar if you’re unaware about how solar panels perform and tolerate seasonal changes in weather. The bottom line is that solar is for all seasons!
We’re here to answer all of your questions about seasonal solar panel performance.
How do seasonal changes impact solar panel performance?
The changes of the seasons will no doubt impact solar panel performance, but not as drastically as you may think! The thought of seasonal variations in weather shouldn’t stop you from making the investment. Solar is an energy source for all seasons, regardless of the weather.
But when there are less daylight hours and more inclement weather in the winter, you may see slight downticks in energy production, and therefore slightly higher Con Ed bills.
Plus, you’ll have to consider your energy consumption throughout the year as well. For example, you may have more visitors at your home in the fall or winter months due to the holidays than you do in the middle of summer. What this means is that you may not rack up as many net metering credits on your Con Ed bills, depending on how much people are using your electricity around these particular seasons.
This means it’s best to be more conscious of how much energy you’ll offset when it comes to seasons where there are shorter days (less sunlight) and more household members.
What are the best months for solar production in NYC?
Needless to say, solar works best when there’s sunshine! So it follows that the best seasons for energy production are the spring and summer. These seasons are the best time for solar because there will be longer days and more sun for your panels to pick up direct sunlight.
Weather that Impacts Solar in the Fall and Winter Months
Does cold weather impact solar performance?
It’s a commonly held solar myth that solar panel systems only work in hot weather, where the sun is shining longer due to longer days. But this is a misconception: solar panels absorb sunlight to generate electricity, not heat from the sun. So even on a 30 degree day in the middle of February, your panels will still be producing energy.
Fun fact: there’s a possibility that solar panels actually work better in colder months.
Thanks to chemistry, electrons rest in cooler temperatures (low energy) and are activated by increasing sunlight (high energy). This causes better production of solar power due to the electron absorbing the energy and moving it to a higher energy state.
How does heavy snow impact solar energy production?
Heavy snow can reduce the amount of direct sunlight hitting the solar cells, but it does not drastically reduce solar power generation. A five-year study shows that snowfall only results in a 3% energy loss for solar panels, this means that snow and ice do not typically impact performance.
This also means that solar panel maintenance does not include removing snow and ice. Your panels will be angled to allow snow to melt or drift off naturally.
Do solar panels work if they’re covered in ice?
The chances of production problems arising from ice due to freezing temperatures are slim. Since ice is transparent, sunrays will simply go through them to reach your solar cells.
Fortunately, solar panels are typically installed at an angle toward the sun. This means the ice will simply slide off the panels as it melts, preventing any damage. For this reason, residential solar panels do not need extensive maintenance from ice or snow.
Want to learn more about how winter weather could affect your solar panels? We’re here to help. Get in touch with us!
Weather that Impacts Solar in the Spring and Summer Months
Does humidity affect the performance of solar panels?
Humidity can affect the performance of solar panels. It’s a common misconception that the hotter the weather is outside, the better the performance of your solar panels will be. Although all solar panels are created to produce energy, not all solar panels work the same under humid conditions.
All solar panels come with rated output specifications, which are dependent on certain temperatures. Solar panel output specifications help you understand how your solar panels should work under normal conditions and how they will function under abnormal weather conditions.
Depending on the panel, location, and typical climate, high temperatures can reduce solar panel efficiency by 10-25%. For this reason, it’s important to work with a solar installer who uses high quality solar panels – REC is Brooklyn SolarWorks’s go-to provider.
How does rain impact solar performance?
Rain does not impact solar performance. Your solar panels will continue to produce, even on rainy days.
However, if you live in an area where frequent rain or hurricanes occur, you should invest in a solar battery to store your power and provide energy security to you if there’s an outage. Batteries are also helpful if you’re experiencing low production on a day where the clouds are very dense.
Unfortunately, however, installing residential batteries in NYC is currently not possible due to FDNY policy. But when that policy changes, Brooklyn SolarWorks can retrofit all systems to accommodate batteries.
What happens if my solar panels get struck by lightning?
If there’s a thunderstorm, there is a very, very small chance that your solar panels could get struck by lightning – about the same odds as anything outdoors getting struck by lightning. In the very rare case that this happens, your system could experience some damage to its electrical components, such as its inverter.
If any part of your system has been damaged or is malfunctioning, we urge you to call your installer for help with repairs and resolving the issue. In rare cases like this, it’s important to work with an installer who provides a comprehensive warranty package.
At Brooklyn SolarWorks, we provide a 30 year umbrella warranty that covers all parts of your solar PV system. In the event that your system is damaged, we’ll be sure to repair it as soon as possible.
To learn more about our warranty options and commitment to customer satisfaction, contact us!
Do solar panels hold up in strong winds?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to investing in a solar PV system here in New York City, as our hurricane season can be intense. But rest assured, the idea that your solar panels will fly away in strong winds is one of the most common misconceptions out there.
When you work with a quality solar installer, you’re investing in a system that will hold up against hurricane-strength winds. Here at Brooklyn SolarWorks, our team ensures maximum stability by bolting the system to the roof’s underlying rafters using watertight connections called OMG. Our Solar Canopy can has been tested extensively and proven to withstand a load of 48,000 pounds. This is equivalent to winds speeds of over 120 mph, and far exceeds the city’s wind requirements.
How do cloudy days impact solar energy?
Cloudy days will not be a great hindrance to your solar production. Sunbeams still reach the earth regardless of how cloudy the sky is, but the more dense these clouds are, the less energy your system will produce. Though production may decrease slightly, no need to worry – you’ll still have access to power even with some cloud cover overhead.
Contrary to belief, there may be times where clouds increase solar production. On cloudy days, there may be brief moments when a phenomenon called “edge-of-cloud” happens. This is when clouds pass by the sun and their edges magnify sunlight which in turn causes intensified sunbeams to reach your solar panels.
Other Factors that Impact Solar Panel Efficiency
Angle of the Sun
The angle and direction in which your solar panels are installed are a huge factor in solar panel performance. For most of the United States, it’s best for panels to be at an angle of 30 to 45 degrees facing south. This is because we’re in the Northern Hemisphere, where the sun is always at the southern half of the sky; therefore, this is where you would receive direct sunlight.
Time of Day
The time of day also plays a factor in when you’ll get the best production out of your solar system. But with that, we need to consider that these optimal times change with the seasons. For example, in the summer, we experience longer days and more sunlight compared to the fall and winter.
When it comes to measuring the best time for solar, there’s a term called, “peak sun hour.” The peak sun hour is one hour where the sunlight reaches an average of 1,000 watts of energy per square meter. This is a lot of sunlight!
You’re most likely to receive this amount of sunlight only if your panels are directly facing the sun at its strongest, so the number of peak hours varies depending on the location and time of year. In New York, we see an average of 3 to 3.5 peak sun hours per day.
Temperature can play a role in seasonal solar panel performance, specifically higher temperatures. All solar panels are manufactured with output specifications that determine efficiency in hotter weather conditions; at a certain point, panel efficiency begins to diminish with heat. So if it’s very hot one July day, you might see a slight downtick in energy production. However, this typically balances out considering the longer daylight hours in the summer.
On the other hand, cold temperatures do not negatively affect solar production – in fact, colder climates can be better for efficiency. Any decreases in production throughout the winter will mainly be due to shorter days and snow.
Solar Energy is for All Seasons
Although seasonal variations in weather can cause changes to your solar production throughout the year, it’s a reliable energy source for your home in all seasons.
While it might seem like there’s a lot to think about when investing in flat roof solar, we assure you that we’re here to make the process as seamless as possible and take all the proper precautions when installing solar for your home. All you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the savings!
If you’re considering going solar and want to know about how our systems operate throughout the seasons, we’d love to hear from you. Schedule a free consultation with us today!
Are you a solar owner with a quick question about solar panel maintenance? Are you considering installing solar panels on your home and wondering what kind of maintenance is involved? This guide is for you!
When you go solar with Brooklyn SolarWorks, our team will be there to answer any questions you may have and provide personalized guidance in taking care of your system. Continue reading to learn about the components of a solar system and why solar panel maintenance is a breeze.
Do residential solar panels need to be maintained?
If you’re considering solar, you may be wondering what kind of maintenance you’ll need to think about in the future. Good news! Maintaining a solar PV system requires very little effort.
Because there are no moving parts to a solar energy system, there’s not much that you actively need to keep an eye on. Cleaning your solar panels is not required either, because they’re angled in such a way that Mother Nature can typically take care of any build up of dirt or debris.
The most common issues we come across have to do with the system’s WiFi connection, which can happen if you change your network settings and is a simple fix.
All in all, solar is a very low maintenance energy source for your home. But rest assured: if any issues or questions arise, we’ve got you covered. Get in touch with us to get started with solar.
Can I tell when my solar system needs maintenance?
Every solar system has an inverter, which we consider the “brains” of the operation. It has two important jobs: one, it converts the DC electricity generated by your solar panels into AC electricity used by your home and the utility grid. Two, it monitors the health of your solar array and stores performance data.
When it comes to solar panel maintenance, the inverter is key. It’ll be connected to your home’s WiFi, which enables the transmission of production data to our monitoring team and alerts us if anything is wrong.
The inverter is typically mounted in your basement near the main electrical service. It can also be placed on your roof attached to the solar array. It has LEDs and a display in the bottom right corner which provide a snapshot of its operating status.
While in normal operation, the display shows the current power output and total lifetime energy production of the inverter.
The green light indicates the current power production status of your solar panel system. It pulses slowly or quickly depending on how much energy it’s creating.
The center red light is the error light and only illuminates if there’s a problem. The display will also show an error code and time stamp when the error occurred. All errors are automatically reported to our team within 24 hours.
The blue light is the communication light. If your inverter is connected to a WiFi network or hardwired with an ethernet cable, it will be solid blue. If it loses connection, the light will turn off.
How to Turn Off and Reboot Your Solar System
Over the lifetime of your system, you may come across times when you’ll need to turn off or reboot your system, like if you have an electrician working in your home for example.
How do I turn my system off?
In the rare case that you need to turn your solar system off altogether, follow these steps:
- Turn off the DC disconnect. This is a black dial on the left side of your inverter (below).
- Turn off the AC disconnect. (Pictured below.) This will be either a circuit breaker in your main electrical panel, or a switch located outside your electric panel – it’ll be labeled as such.
After turning off the inverter, allow at least one minute for the inverter to fully discharge before rebooting. If an electrician has turned your system off, please make sure they remember to reactivate your system before leaving.
How do I reboot my system?
To reboot your solar system, turn both the DC and AC switches back on. Either order is fine, but turning on the AC connection first will allow the inverter to resume operation more quickly. The inverter will take up to 5 minutes to fully reboot and reconnect to WiFi/cell networks. It may take another 5 minutes to begin making power.
How can I monitor the health of my solar panels?
After your inverter is connected to your WiFi network, we’ll register it in an online monitoring platform called Sunny Portal. Sunny Portal allows you to track the performance of your solar array.
Check Your Inverter Data
Checking data collected by Sunny Portal is a great way to monitor the health and performance of your solar system.
Information provided by Sunny Portal includes but is not limited to:
- Real-time output of your solar system
- Total energy output
- Approximate CO2 emissions avoided for the current day and lifetime of the system
- Basic information on system equipment
Additionally, our team actively monitors the performance of our entire fleet of solar systems against guaranteed output levels and receives automatic notifications should any errors occur.
How do I maintain my solar panels?
Your solar panels are very low maintenance. They have no moving parts or electronics, and are therefore long-lasting, requiring no regular inspection or maintenance.
Solar panel cleaning is not required. Your solar array is angled to allow rain water to run off naturally, taking with it any dust, pollen, or other debris. If you do choose to clean your panels, however, avoid harsh detergents and metal or hard plastic brushes that could scratch the glass.
You don’t need to worry about removing snow either, as the power lost during snowstorms is extremely small. Snow will drift or melt off your panels naturally. Not to mention, it can be dangerous climbing up to a snowy, icy rooftop.
Suffice to say, solar panel maintenance is a piece of cake!
How does NYC’s extreme weather impact my solar panels?
One of the most common solar myths out there is that solar panels won’t fare well in bad weather. In any given year in New York City, we can expect a range of weather conditions, from heatwaves, to hurricanes, to blizzards.
When it comes to solar, we prepare for this. The solar panel providers we use, typically LG or REC, thoroughly test their panels against a broad range of extreme weather before going to market. LG and REC are industry leaders, manufacturing solar panels that are built to last.
Brooklyn SolarWorks’s systems have also undergone extensive testing: our canopy system can hold around 48,000 pounds. This means it can withstand a blizzard’s worth of snow and over 120 mph winds — exceeding the city’s wind requirements. (For reference, when Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey, the highest recorded wind speed was 80 mph.)
Systems we installed back in 2016 are still up and running, despite being exposed to multiple hurricanes and snowstorms over the years. When you go solar, it’s important to choose an installer that uses high-quality solar panels and sound installation methods to ensure stability overtime.
Is there a standard warranty for solar panels?
Solar panel warranties can vary depending on the manufacturer, but most provide a standard warranty of 10 to 20 years. Typically, there are two components to a solar panel warranty: product and performance. The product warranty covers the equipment itself, while the performance warranty guarantees a certain power output over a set period of time. The specifics of each component vary depending on the provider.
REC, one of our trusted solar panel providers, offers a 20-25 year product warranty as well as a guarantee that their panels will perform at a minimum 92% efficiency after 25 years.
Additionally, a good solar installer should provide their own warranties. When you go solar with Brooklyn SolarWorks, you’ll be covered by a 30 year umbrella warranty, covering all aspects of the installation:
- 25 year panel warranty
- 10 year workmanship warranty for all materials and services performed
- 30 year inverter warranty
We also offer our customers 24/7 real-time system monitoring, as well as a Power Production Guarantee. We guarantee that your system will perform as projected during its first 10 years; if not, we’ll provide cash compensation for the loss in savings.
When you go solar with us, we’ve got your back. Schedule your free consultation today.
How to Replace and Repair Your Solar Panels
If your panels were installed properly, it’s unlikely that you’ll have to worry about repair or replacement. But things can happen – this is why it’s important to choose a trusted installer that provides warranties for their equipment and service.
In the rare case that your solar panels need to be replaced or repaired, it’s best to get in touch with the company that installed them because they’ll be able to determine the best course of action for your system and your roof. If your system was installed by us, we’ll get a crew out to assess the issue and make repairs as soon as we can.
Overall, Solar Requires Very Little Maintenance
When you invest in solar energy, you’re investing in a low maintenance, long-lasting energy source that’s actively reducing your carbon footprint. Overall, solar panel maintenance is a total breeze. But in the case that any issues arise, it’s important to know the basics of how your system operates and how to handle it.
If questions about solar panel maintenance are top of mind for you, it’s best to work with a trusted installer who uses high quality panels and installation methods. If you’re a homeowner in New York City, we’d love to help you switch to clean energy. Schedule a free consultation today!
The need for clean energy is more urgent than ever – not just for the planet, but for our wallets too. Last month, Con Edison announced that it expects to see electric bills increase by 12% this summer. Though the rise in supply costs is largely out of our control, there are ways we can manage our costs.
Con Edison’s Rate Increase Notice to Their Customers
In June, Con Edison sent an alert out to all of its customers, warning of an expected utility bill increase of 12% for New York City residents.
In this alert, ConEd stated that “one key reason is rising energy supply costs,” due to global supply chain issues, and that there are some ways to manage your utility costs this summer.
Is anyone to blame for the increasing electric bills?
Some increase in electricity costs during the summertime is to be expected – but this increase is much greater than usual. The reason for this goes beyond blasting that air conditioner!
Con Ed’s alert said that supply chain issues are to blame, explaining that disruptions “have driven up the already high cost of natural gas, which is burned to produce electricity.” This comes just six months after NYC residents saw their Con Ed bills increase in January and February for the same reason.
Unfortunately, energy costs have been on the rise across the country for several months due to the war in Ukraine. If you drive a gasoline-powered vehicle, you’ve likely already been feeling these effects at the gas station.
When it comes to your Con Edison bill increase, the issue is two-fold: one, around 70 percent of NYC’s electricity is powered by natural gas. Two, much of our supply of natural gas comes from international sources, including Russia. So as long as our grid is powered by the burning of imported fossil fuels, our electric bills will continue to fluctuate with the global energy market.
Will my energy bills continue increasing?
We wish we could tell you that these electric rate increases are temporary. But the cost of electricity is on the rise across the board, and major rate hikes are bound to happen again. The price of natural gas will always rise and fall with supply and demand.
On top of rising supply costs, Con Ed’s been raising its delivery rates too. In 2020, the Public Service Commission approved a three-year incremental increase in electric rates totaling 13.5 percent. In February of 2022, Con Ed proposed another delivery rate hike of 11.2% poised to take effect on January 1, 2023. The reasoning behind these increases is to fund infrastructure upgrades and invest in clean energy initiatives.
But if you’re a building owner, there’s a better way to invest in clean energy. Take control of your energy costs by installing rooftop solar.
Brooklyn SolarWorks can help. Get in Touch
Con Ed’s Payment Plans and Assistance
If you’re a renter in NYC or investing in clean energy is out of reach for you, there are some ways that you can manage your electricity costs. Con Edison offers a few financial assistance programs for customers needing help paying their bills:
- Payment Agreements allow you to pay off your outstanding balance in no-fee, monthly installments.
- Con Ed’s Energy Affordability Program grants discounts to low-income customers who receive benefits from certain government programs, such as HEAP and SNAP.
- Enrolling in a Level Payment Plan allows you to spread your monthly payments out evenly over 12 months to avoid seasonal fluctuations.
Though supply costs are out of your control, there are a few ways to mind your individual usage too. Using energy efficient appliances and avoiding peak hours may help to limit your electricity costs this summer.
Why It’s the Right Move to Install Solar Energy Now
As a homeowner in NYC, the best way to avoid rising utility rates is to invest in renewable energy. Rate hikes are bound to continue in the future, due to both the volatility of the global energy market and Con Edison’s own infrastructure upgrades.
By installing your own residential solar energy system, you’ll be able to take advantage of reliable clean energy right away – no waiting on ConEd to make its system upgrades, and no unexpected rate hikes in the meantime. Rooftop solar gives you energy independence.
Why pay Con Ed for clean energy in the future, when you could produce it in your own home right now?
Solar is the Solution
If you’re tired of the shock and inconvenience of Con Edison bill increases, solar energy is the solution. Brooklyn SolarWorks has been helping New Yorkers make the switch to solar for over seven years, and we can help you too.
In 2015, Brooklyn SolarWorks landed in Gowanus with a mission to bring affordable flat roof solar to local homeowners. We’ve overcome barriers to develop industry-leading approaches to permitting, design, and installation that are specifically adapted to New York City.
Along the way, we’ve discovered a lot about what makes NYC an outstanding place to go solar. Here are some fundamentals that sustainably-minded homeowners exploring flat roof solar in the city should know.
Background of Flat Roof Solar in NYC
For many years, solar contractors in the area embraced installation methods and system designs that were developed for the suburban home, making the unique features of the urban environment a poor fit for conventional business models.
Unlike suburban homes, flat roofed homes here are often closely surrounded by, or attached to, other homes and commercial buildings. They also often have obstructions, such as:
- HVAC equipment
- Required FDNY fire paths
These characteristics were traditionally seen as major barriers to installing solar. As a result, NYC was stuck in solar limbo while its suburbs saw some of the highest solar adoptions rates in the country.
On one hand, there has been huge demand in the city due to sky high electricity rates and growing climate consciousness among locals. But on the other hand, the growth of solar here was stunted by challenging features of flat roof buildings, restrictive building and fire codes, and the City’s notoriously complex permitting bureaucracy.
Fortunately, we came on the scene in 2015 with the mission to change that!
To this day, some companies still claim that installing solar panels on flat roofs in New York City is impossible. But the truth is, installing solar on flat rooftops just requires different design considerations and installation methods than installing on pitched and sloped roofs. And while it is true that the City’s building and fire codes can be prohibitive, they’re not at all impossible! Plus, flat roof solar provides the same value – if not more – than solar on any other rooftop.
How to Know if Your Home is Compatible
Many of our customers have been told by other installers that their flat roof is not suitable for a residential solar installation. If you’ve heard this too, you’ve come to the right place.
Solar system design for flat roof buildings – particularly on 100+ year old brownstones – is our core expertise. It is very rare that a flat roofed home in the city is not able to go solar, though there are certain criteria that your roof should meet in order for solar to make sense. Certain factors come into play, such as:
- Roof structure
- Workable roof area
But in order to know for sure, you’ll need to have your roof surveyed by a certified solar professional. (We offer free assessments for this!)
Want to know if your home is compatible with solar? Schedule a Free Consultation
Many Brooklyn neighborhoods have high concentrations of landmarked and historic homes. If you own one of these homes, you likely already know that New York City has some of the most stringent historic preservation rules anywhere.
Many of our customers logically assume that adding a space-age technology to a historic home with landmark designation won’t go over well with the city. But as long as the solar panels are concealed from view from the street, flat roof solar is permitted. In fact, around 30% of Brooklyn SolarWorks projects are on landmarked homes.
Solar Design Options for Flat Roofs
Installing solar on flat roofs – especially those with obstructions like hatches, skylights, and required FDNY fire paths – requires a bit more creativity than other solar models. We pioneered two unique solar panel racking solutions for flat roofs, allowing us to provide customized solar panel systems for so-called challenging roofs that other companies won’t touch.
Our most famous innovation for flat roof installations is our award-winning Brooklyn Solar Canopy. Canopies elevate solar panels above roof obstructions and required fire paths, while also creating space for roof decks, green roofs and other amenities. It’s so popular that we now distribute our solar canopy to other installers all over the country through a separate company, Brooklyn Solar Canopy Co.
If a solar canopy is not your style, we’ve also mastered the art of maximizing solar with limited space through our tilt rack option. Tilt racks can be installed closer to the roof surface and allow the solar array to be split into sections, avoiding any obstructions. Tilt racks are great for landmarked homes, whose solar installations need to be invisible from street level.
Learn more about your solar options: How Residential Solar Works in NYC
How Do I Start the Process of Going Solar?
Get in touch with your local solar company to get started. (If you’re in NYC, our phone lines are always open!)
Our process involves an initial discussion with a member of our team to get to know your home and roof situation. Then, you’ll have an appointment with one of our solar experts, who will assess your roof and talk about what solar could look like for your home. From there, our team will create a custom solar proposal for you.
Once you decide to move forward with your project, you can sit back and relax. There are a lot of steps involved with going solar in NYC, as construction projects here involve complex permitting and take time to complete. But it’s the solar installer’s job to complete these steps – not the homeowner’s.
Solar is a turn-key business, meaning it’s on the installer to manage all permits and permissions on behalf of the customer with the city, Con Edison, and all other entities. Because of the time it takes to permit a project, the installation process takes about 3-4 months to complete from contract signing. During that time, the customer is required to do almost nothing until the day of the installation.
Solar Panel Installation Cost
The cost of a solar panel installation in NYC can vary depending on a number of factors, and it’s not as straightforward as it may be in other areas of the country (even Long Island or New Jersey!).
Making solar work on homes in the City is a science, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Unfortunately, many installers in the area lack the specialization required to give an accurate estimate for flat roof solar upfront. And looking into solar panel pricing in any other area of the country won’t give you the best idea of what your finances will look like for solar here – not only because pricing is more variable in the city, but also because we are one of the most incentivized solar markets in the country.
NY solar incentives can cover around 70 percent of the total cost of your solar power system come tax season. But for that remaining 30 percent, the way you pay is up to you. There are different payment options available – you may choose to pay in cash up front, or finance it over time with a low-cost solar loan.
Want to know which incentives you qualify for? View Incentives
When considering the cost of a solar installation, it’s important to remember that it’s an investment akin to any other home improvement project. Solar’s been proven to raise the value of homes in NYC, and savings from avoiding electric bills can exceed $35,000 overtime.
Solar Output and Power Generated on a Flat Roof
You may have heard that solar panels on a flat roof won’t produce well due to the lack of angle toward the sun or shade from neighboring buildings or trees. The truth is that there aren’t any inherent disadvantages to flat roof solar as compared to a pitched or slanted roof system.
While there may be different design considerations and equipment needed, these things don’t affect the quality of the system or energy production. But because flat roof systems require specialized designs, it’s a good idea to choose an installer that knows how to maximize solar performance on these types of roofs.
Flat roofs are our specialty! Get Started
Many of our customers report that they haven’t paid Con Ed ever since their system was installed. Many of the flat roof systems we install cover all, if not more, of our customers’ energy needs.
How to Choose the Right Solar Installer
Like any major home improvement project, it’s important to choose the right company to work with. You want a contractor that creates a high-quality product while making the process seem like a breeze.
When it comes to flat roof solar installations in NYC, it’s imperative that you choose an installer that understands how to work in lockstep with the city’s complex building codes and permitting processes so that you get the best solar system possible.
We’ve built our business from top to bottom to do all of these things for each and every customer of ours – contact us today!
Your Savings When You Go Solar
Utility rates in NYC are some of the highest in the country – and the cost of electricity is on the rise. As a solar owner, you’ll remain connected to the grid. But thankfully, Con Edison awards retail credits for the excess solar power your system exports to the grid through a program called net metering. This means that the solar energy your system produces translates to savings on your monthly electric bill.
Plus: solar energy becomes more valuable over time as electric rates increase, meaning your savings will grow. Going solar reduces the cost per kilowatt hour of electricity to pennies, and the savings from avoiding utility rate increases typically exceeds $35,000 over time.
Local and Federal Solar Incentives
Having super high electricity rates like we do in NYC is usually enough to make solar a worthwhile investment. But living in New York means homeowners can take advantage of several state, city, and federal tax credits that can offset up to 70% of your out-of-pocket costs. This makes for fast payback times and super attractive ROI.
NYC homeowners can take advantage of the following incentives to help cover the cost of their solar installations:
- Federal Solar Income Tax Credit
- New York State Solar Income Tax Credit
- NYSERDA Solar Rebate
- NYC Property Tax Abatement
- NYS Historic Homeownership Rehabilitation Credit
Check out our list of different NY solar incentives to see what your project may qualify for.
Solar Panels and the Resale Value of Your Home
According to an April 2019 study by Zillow.com solar homes sell on average at 4.1% higher than comparable homes without solar. The study also found that the solar boost was higher in the NYC metro area than the national average, topping out at 5.4%. That’s an extra $23,989 in value for solar homeowners in the five boroughs. The study corroborated similar findings of an early report funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Solar Warranty and Maintenance
All Brooklyn SolarWorks solar systems come with an industry-leading 30-year warranty that covers all aspects of the system including the panels and inverter. Additionally, we guarantee your solar production – if your system fails to perform as expected, we’ll provide cash compensation to cover the loss in savings.
Many folks are surprised to find out that solar panels require little to no maintenance. Because there are no moving parts to a solar array, there is not much to actively keep an eye on. You’re not required to clean your solar panels, as your solar array will be angled to allow rain water to run off naturally, taking with it any build up. However, if you do choose to clean your panels, avoid harsh detergents and metal or hard plastic brushes that could scratch the glass.
You don’t need to worry about removing snow either, as the power lost during snowstorms is extremely small. Not to mention, it can be dangerous climbing up to a snowy, icy rooftop. Snow will melt or drift off the system naturally.
There’s not much you’ll need to do for solar panel maintenance. Essentially, once your panels are installed on your roof, you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the savings!
Monitoring Your Solar Energy
Brooklyn SolarWorks provides 24/7 system monitoring as part of our warranty package. When you become a customer of ours, we won’t leave you high and dry. Our team actively monitors our entire fleet of solar systems on a regular basis, and are alerted in case of any irregularities in system functionality.
You’ll be able to monitor your solar panel system as well. When your system is connected to your WiFi on installation day, it’ll get registered in Sunny Portal. Once your Sunny Portal account is set up, it allows you to track your solar production through metrics like real-time output, total energy output, and CO2 emissions avoided.
Get Started with the Local Experts Today!
If you own a flat roof home in New York City, switching to solar energy is one of the best ways to make an impact on climate change. Going solar means reducing your carbon footprint and your electric bill.
If you’re looking to install solar on your flat roofed home, trust an expert. Brooklyn SolarWorks has been designing and building flat roof solar systems in NYC since 2015, with over 1,000 complete projects.
Ready to get started? Schedule Your Free Consultation
NYC is rapidly becoming one of the most sustainable cities in the U.S. Multiple plans for tackling climate change are in the works as New Yorkers are realizing that environmental issues are on the rise worldwide – and in our own backyards, too. We all can create a positive impact on our environment, making NYC sustainability a reality for our neighborhoods.
Is New York City a sustainable city?
Carbon emissions, landfill waste, air and water pollution and the use of fossil fuels has always been an issue for the concrete jungle known as the Big Apple. Fortunately, New York City is making major strides towards becoming a sustainable city through initiatives in transportation, waste management, retail, and energy.
The City has shown great progress by implementing legislation that’s facilitating a sustainable future. For example, the Climate Mobilization Act, enacted in 2019, set the city on a path towards carbon neutrality. Smaller policy changes make a difference, too – the citywide plastic bag ban took effect in 2020 to reduce the use of plastic bags in retail and encourage customers to utilize reusable bags.
Bike sharing programs such as Citi Bike and Revel have been developed and expanded upon to encourage the use of alternative forms of transportation and reduce gasoline-powered vehicle use. Citi Bike has around 34,000 bicycles in NY, granting New Yorkers greater accessibility to bike riding. Plus, the Department of Transportation has made plans to upgrade 20 miles of protected bike lanes by 2023, ensuring greater safety to cyclists.
Unlike conventional bus transportation, hybrid MTA buses use a diesel hybrid electric propulsion system which relies on both fuel and electricity, resulting in a reduction of gas emissions in public transportation. The MTA revealed it has over 1,300 low-emissions hybrid buses and 399 2nd generation hybrid buses up and ready to transport New Yorkers to their destinations.
Lastly, with NYC incentivizing residential solar installation, the solar movement is alive and well. Because of the tax incentives and electricity bill savings it provides, solar has become a great option for homeowners. Con Edison estimates that their customers have installed around 43,000 solar projects, and around 9,000 customers are subscribed to community solar programs.
Interested in solar for your NYC home? Get in touch with us.
What environmental sustainability issues is NYC facing?
Although it’s fair to say that NYC is making much-needed strides to become a more environmentally-friendly city, we still have a long way to go to protect our future as the climate crisis looms.
One issue NYC faces is coastal resilience. Data shows that in the near future, Lower Manhattan, for example, will face tremendous flooding due to climate change, threatening critical infrastructure, homes, and businesses. Fortunately, the City plans to invest $900 million in climate adaptation projects to protect our coastlines. The Financial District and Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan will feature a multilevel, elevated waterfront which will extend the shoreline of the East River and protect from sea level rise.
Air quality in NYC is a major environmental concern due to its health risks. Emissions from fossil fuel combustion cause densely populated cities to have higher concentrations of two common air pollutants – fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone (O3). Both of these pollutants are linked to serious illnesses and deaths, especially from respiratory and cardiac diseases. Despite regulatory improvements, air pollution contributes to 6 percent of deaths in NYC annually.
NYC is a city full of waste – simply taking a walk around your neighborhood on garbage day is proof of that! Our city sends millions of tons of waste to landfills and incinerators every year, which in turn releases tons of emissions. In 2015, Former Mayor De Blasio set a goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2030, a goal which necessitates the development of stronger recycling and composting programs in order to divert waste. However, due to limited and stagnant efforts from City Hall, the city has not made much progress. Recycling rates are at the lowest they’ve been in years, and unfortunately, earlier this year Mayor Adams decided to cut the budget of the Sanitation Department’s Curbside Composting program.
What is NYC doing about climate change?
Former Mayor Bloomberg kicked off his initiative for a greener city by implementing the PlaNYC in 2007. PlaNYC was implemented to support efforts to reduce waste with recycling, to create parks within every neighborhood, to adopt renewable energy sources, and to improve air quality.
This plan was absorbed into OneNYC in 2015. OneNYC takes PlaNYC’s goals further by promising to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. With the former Mayor De Blasio issuing an executive order to adopt the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2017, New York City established itself as a city that takes climate action.
Another plan in action is the NYC Climate Mobilization Act (CMA), passed by the City Council in 2019. This legislative package is a set of sustainability laws that put NYC’s buildings on a path toward lower greenhouse gas emissions. Local Law 92 and 94 are a pair of laws mandating the installation of “sustainable roofing zones” – a green roof, solar panels, or a combination of the two – on all rooftops undergoing major construction. Local Law 95 requires buildings to display their energy efficiency grades on for the public to see. Local Law 96 established Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing to help building owners fund energy efficiency upgrades.
Considered the cornerstone of the CMA, NYC Local Law 97 set emissions limits for buildings greater than 25,000 square feet. These buildings are required to reduce their emissions by 40% by 2024 and then by 80% by 2050. Owners of these buildings must submit their yearly emissions reports starting in May 2025 or they will face heavy penalties.
6 Ways New Yorkers can Positively Impact NYC’s Environment
Although our city officials are implementing plans to help the environment, there’s ways New Yorkers can positively contribute to the fight against climate change and reduce their carbon footprints too.
1. Invest in Solar Energy & Switch to Electric Appliances
If you’re a homeowner in NYC, one of the best ways to make an impact is by investing in a rooftop solar system. Solar panels allow you to harness the sun’s energy to power your home, reducing, or eliminating, your reliance on fossil fuels coming from the grid. Once you install solar, you have access to clean, reliable, and free energy for decades.
Many of our customers choose to take their impact even further by electrifying their homes. Making all-electric upgrades to your home, such as air source heating and electric water heating, after going solar allows you to run your home completely clean. Upgrading to electric appliances not only helps you save on energy costs, but it also supports a cleaner and healthier environment for you and your loved ones.
Want to learn more about installing solar on your NYC home? Get in touch with us.
2. Support Local Agriculture
Urban farming is crucial to NYC’s sustainability efforts. Buying produce locally helps to cut down on waste and on emissions from transportation, and supports local biodiversity. Local farming also improves air quality and gives communities access to affordable, fresh food.
Farmer’s markets are an excellent way to support local agriculture – GrowNYC hosts Greenmarkets every week at locations throughout the five boroughs, including Union Square in Manhattan and Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. Some Greenmarket events also offer textile recycling and composting opportunities.
Depending on where you live or work, rooftop gardening is something you can take up on your own. In fact, Brooklyn SolarWorks’s HQ now has its very own rooftop garden! Our garden has a variety of fruits and vegetables, like strawberries, peppers, eggplants, edamame, carrots, watermelons, bok choy, and more.
3. Shop Local & Second Hand
Shopping locally benefits the local economy and the environment. It reduces waste and cuts down on transportation emissions. Purchasing clothing or home goods second hand from thrift stores, consignment shops, or stoop sales can help to reduce waste (and help you find something unique!).
4. Compost and Reduce Plastic Use
Composting is the practice of recycling organic waste, like leftover food, into fertilizer for soil or energy. Composting does wonders for the environment – it cuts down on methane emissions from food waste, reduces the need for chemical fertilizer, and aids in water retention in soil.
Though citywide composting is limited, there are opportunities in certain neighborhoods. If you live under community boards Brooklyn 1, 2, 6, and 7, Manhattan 6 and 7, and Bronx 8 you can sign up for Curbside Composting. There are also a number of food scrap drop-off sites throughout the city.
5. Use Alternative Forms of Transportation
Fortunately, we live in a city that provides plenty of transportation alternatives. With the subways, buses, and bike shares available, there are now many ways to get around without using a car. When you choose to utilize these means of transportation as opposed to cars, you can significantly reduce your personal carbon footprint.
6. Educate Others on Sustainability
Sustainability efforts spread by word of mouth. Choosing to make sustainable lifestyle changes can have a ripple effect. By encouraging your friends, family, and neighbors to take public transportation, recycle more often, or install solar on their homes, you can make an impact within your very own community.
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint One Day at a Time
NYC sustainability efforts are moving a positive direction, with New Yorkers pitching in on both legislative and individual levels. New York City deserves to become a city that is cleaner, safer and more sustainable for you, your loved ones and the next generation thereafter.
If you’re a homeowner in NYC, switching to clean energy is one of the best ways to make a difference. After installing solar, you’ll be able to say that you are making a difference on our planet and our city.
Ready to make the switch? Contact us to get started.
We’re proud to service New York City for a number of reasons. But, one of the things we love most about NYC is its commitment to sustainability and doing its part in the climate crisis. The City has some of the world’s most ambitious climate goals, including reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The NYC Climate Mobilization Act (CMA), otherwise known as NYC’s Green New Deal, was passed by the New York City Council in 2019 to put NYC on the path to reducing building carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 and by 80% by 2050. The largest climate legislation of any city in the world, the CMA consists of several laws aimed at reducing the greenhouse gas emissions across the city, with special attention paid to improving the energy efficiency of both residential and commercial buildings.
Brief History of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in NYC
While the CMA included provisions for sustainability upgrades in other areas, such as the plastic bag ban, the laws with the most potential to make an impact are those aimed at reducing emissions in our buildings. It may not come as a surprise that NYC buildings make up the majority of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, buildings account for over 70% of total emissions – surpassing even transportation emissions.
The source of these emissions is energy consumption from electricity use, heating, and cooling, which can add up particularly in larger buildings. For this reason, it’s important that property owners invest in energy efficient appliances and clean energy sources, like solar power. This is the reasoning behind four of the main pieces of legislation in the CMA, outlined below.
When was the Climate Mobilization Act passed?
The Climate Mobilization Act was passed by the NYC City Council on April 18, 2019, just in time for Earth Day.
What laws are included in the Climate Mobilization Act?
Green Roofs: Local Laws 92 & 94
NYC Local Laws 92 and 94 are a pair of laws mandating the installation of “sustainable roofing zones” on all rooftops undergoing major construction, both for new and existing roofs. A sustainable roofing zone is defined as “areas of a roof assembly where a solar photovoltaic electricity generating system, a green roof system, or a combination thereof, is installed.”
In other words, any new buildings or buildings undergoing major roof replacement must either install solar panels or a green roof, or a combination of the two.
Need solar panels to comply with LL 92 & 94? Talk with Us
Building Energy Efficiency Grade: Local Law 95
Local Law 95 amended the previous Local Law 33, enacted in 2018, in regards to the calculation of building energy efficiency grades. Like health and safety grades displayed in the windows of restaurants, energy efficiency grades are also required to be displayed by buildings. LL 95 simply updated the ranges of scores which determine letter grades.
PACE: Local Law 96
Local Law 96 established Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing to help building owners fund energy efficiency upgrades.
Buildings Mandate: Local Law 97
Considered the cornerstone of the NYC Climate Mobilization Act, NYC Local Law 97 set emissions limits for buildings greater than 25,000 square feet. In accordance with city goals, these buildings must reduce their emissions by 40% by 2030 and by 2050, emissions must be reduced by 80%.
LL 97 set two initial phases of emissions limits for these buildings. The first phase begins in 2024 and continues until 2029, while the second, more stringent, phase will take place in 2030-2034. The limits were set based on several different building use classifications and sizes. Buildings must submit yearly emissions reports starting in May 2025, and face penalties for exceeding emissions limits.
How do I know if the local laws apply to my building?
Local Laws 92 and 94 set forth the requirements for required sustainable roofing zones. These laws apply to all new construction and roof replacement projects; however, there are some exceptions. If any of the following applies to your buildings, you may be exempt:
- The slope of your roof is greater than 2:12 and a solar system would not reach a capacity of 4 kW
- Too much of the roof area is occupied by other structures such as water towers, mechanical equipment, or stormwater management systems
- The roof is already occupied by recreational spaces
To ensure compliance, it’s best to work with a certified design professional or contractor to determine your available roof area and any potential exemptions.
Local Law 95 requires buildings greater than 25,000 square feet to publicly post their energy efficiency grades.
Local Law 97 covers buildings greater than 25,000 square feet, though there are different emissions limits depending on the classification of the building.
How are the emissions limits determined?
The emissions intensity limits set by Local Law 97 were determined for 10 classifications of buildings based on Building Code occupancy groups. A building’s annual emissions limit is its emissions intensity limit multiplied by floor area.
What are the penalties for non-compliance?
The penalty for not complying with LL 95 is a DOB violation and a fine of $1,250.
The penalty for not complying with LL 97 is a fine, calculated by taking the difference between a building’s annual emissions limit and its actual emissions, then multiplying the difference by $268.
Compliance Timeline for the Climate Mobilization Act
How You Can Make a Positive Impact in NYC
Mitigating the effects of climate change is going to take bold action. We’re proud that our city is making major strides through legislation like the NYC Climate Mobilization Act.
It’s important that everyone does their part to reduce their carbon footprint. If you’re a homeowner in NYC, going solar is an excellent way to do that.
Want to learn about solar energy for your home in New York City? Contact Us Today
Solar energy is important in facilitating a clean energy future, which is imperative in the fight against climate change. But the use of solar energy has benefits that extend beyond environmental impact. From health to economics, solar has the capacity to change the lives of New Yorkers for the better.
The Growth of Solar Energy in NYC
The very first solar system was installed on a rooftop right here in New York City way back in 1884. But for a long time, unfortunately, solar companies avoided installing solar in urban environments due to its complexities. Conventional solar models were made for the suburban, pitched roof home, unlike many homes here in the city.
Brooklyn SolarWorks was founded to change that. While our installations today look a little different than back in 1884, NYC is quickly becoming a solarized city. We’ve developed custom solar system design methods specifically for flat roofed brownstones and townhouses in NYC, while also figuring out how to navigate NYC’s complex permitting process. As a result, we’ve had the opportunity to contribute to the growth of solar in NYC with over 1,500 solar installations.
How is solar energy obtained?
The sun’s energy can be obtained and converted using a variety of solar technologies, creating electricity for home use, thermal energy for solar heating, or other purposes.
In a home solar system setup, energy from the sun is harnessed using the technology of photovoltaic (PV) panels. When sunlight shines on a solar PV panel during the day, the energy is absorbed by solar cells and converted into DC electricity. When the current flows through an inverter, it is converted into AC electricity which is usable in your home.
Want to know how solar could work for your NYC home? Get in touch with us.
6 Reasons Why Solar Energy is Important in NYC
1. It’s Good for the Environment
It’s no secret that one of the most important things about solar power is that it’s a clean, renewable energy source. To mitigate the effects of the climate crisis, we need to transition to alternative energy sources that don’t emit greenhouse gasses – especially in our buildings. A recent study found that the buildings here in NYC are responsible for 70% of our total emissions.
Solar is one of the best renewable energy options available, particularly for individual households and buildings.
2. It Reduces Energy Costs
Another important feature of solar energy is that it’s cost-effective. Rather than purchasing natural gas and electricity powered by fossil fuels from the utility grid, solar PV systems allow you to convert the sun’s energy into electricity right in your own home. Through a program called net metering, you’ll receive retail energy credits on your electric bills from Con Edison for all of the excess energy your system produces and exports to the grid.
Powering your home with solar means you can say goodbye to the volatility of the fossil fuel market and unexpected utility rate hikes – something us New Yorkers are all too well aware of. Solar panels provide a free, renewable energy source that lasts for decades.
Plus, by electrifying your home with all-electric appliances (air source heat pumps, electric hot water heaters, or induction cooktops) after going solar, the cost savings become even more valuable – and your dependence on fossil fuels decreases even further.
3. It Provides Health Benefits
When it comes to energy sources, “clean” doesn’t just mean good for the environment. Transitioning to clean energy is a necessity for our health. The burning of fossil fuels produces harmful greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, methane, and nitrogen oxides. In fact, a study by Stanford University found that gas stoves leak methane into homes even when they’re not in use.
These gases are linked to various problems, like premature deaths, heart attacks, asthma, and other cardiovascular and respiratory issues. This is on top of the health effects of weather events exasperated by climate change, like extreme storms and even allergy season.
New York City is particularly vulnerable to these impacts. As of 2017, New York had the highest rate of premature deaths and health impacts due to fuel combustion pollution, with NYC being responsible for a significant portion. And not all New Yorkers experience these effects the same way – lower income communities and communities of color are more likely to be negatively impacted.
With our buildings being the top greenhouse gas emissions source, it’s imperative that we transition them to clean energy sources like solar.
4. It Promotes Energy Independence
Producing your own energy at home means reducing your dependence on electricity coming from the power grid, which promotes energy independence on an individual level. Rooftop solar energy systems give home and building owners the ability to produce their own power, which reduces energy costs and provides a greater sense of security.
This applies on a national level, too. Transitioning to solar and wind energy on a large scale would reduce the United States’s dependence on imports of foreign fossil fuels, which would provide greater economic and political stability.
5. It Provides Financial Incentives
Solar energy provides financial benefits in addition to energy cost savings. Solar installation is heavily incentivized by the government on the federal, state and local levels. This means that not only will you see cost savings in the long run, but you’ll also see savings on the initial investment of your solar installation.
The tax incentives available to New Yorkers specifically make our city one of the best places in the country to go solar. Through a federal income tax credit, state solar tax credit, a state rebate, a local property tax abatement, and other incentives, a New York City homeowner can see their upfront contract price reduced by around 70 percent.
Additionally, a study released by Zillow.com in 2019 determined that across the country, homes with solar panels see a significant boost in value, averaging a 4.1% premium. But the increase in property value for homes with solar in the New York City metropolitan area was even greater, topping out at 5.4%. This translates to a premium of almost $24,000.
Want to learn more about what incentives your solar installation could qualify for? Chat with us today.
6. It Creates Jobs
Solar is important for the economy of New York. The solar industry here has experienced incredible growth over the past decade, and it’s only continuing to grow.
New York was the 8th largest state solar industry in 2021, employing 10,214 people across 645 companies. The state has over 3,380 MW of solar installed currently, and is projected to install an additional 4,877 MW over the next 5 years. In fact, Governor Hochul announced that as of March 2022, New York is the largest community solar market in the country with more than 1 gigawatt installed – enough to power 200,000 homes.
The growth of the solar industry means overall economic growth for the city and state. Green jobs are the way of the future for NYC.
The Power of Solar Energy in NYC
Solar is important for countless reasons. Whether environmental, economic, or health-related, the importance of solar energy in NYC cannot be understated. New York City is leading the charge when it comes to the clean energy transition with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
Realizing this goal means installing solar panels on buildings big and small across the city, from the Javits Center to your single family brownstone. And installing solar means job creation, greater cost efficiency, and protecting the health of our neighbors and the earth.
Get Started with Solar Energy Today
If you’re considering solar for your NYC home, trust an expert. Brooklyn SolarWorks has been custom designing solar systems for NYC roofs and expertly navigating the city’s complex permitting process since 2015.
Join over 1,500 of your neighbors and flip the switch to solar today! Schedule a free consultation now.
New York City’s Local Laws 92 and 94 were passed by the City Council in 2019 as part of the Climate Mobilization Act (CMA). The CMA, otherwise known as NYC’s Green New Deal, aims to guide our city towards carbon neutrality by 2050 through various initiatives towards developing energy efficiency in buildings.
NYC Local Law 92 and 94 are a pair of legislation under the CMA requiring building owners to install sustainable roofing systems – solar photovoltaic systems or green roofs – on all new roofs. Here’s what you need to know about the requirements of these laws and how to comply.
What are Local Laws 92 and 94 in NYC?
NYC Local Law 92 and 94 are a pair of laws mandating the installation of sustainable roofing zones on all rooftops undergoing major construction, both for new and existing roofs. These two pieces of legislation are grouped together because they both set forth the requirements for this specific mandate.
- LL 94 requires sustainable roofing zones on all new construction and major roof renovations.
- LL 92 adjusts those requirements for smaller buildings.
Sustainable Roofing Zones
A “sustainable roofing zone” is defined by these laws as “areas of a roof assembly where a solar photovoltaic electricity generating system, a green roof system, or a combination thereof, is installed.”
Why were Local Laws 92 and 94 created?
Data collected by the City Council estimates that 70% of NYC’s carbon emissions come from buildings. Local Law 97, one of the main parts of the CMA, focuses on improving the all-around efficiency of buildings 25,000 square feet or larger. LL 92/94 were created to help this effort, by requiring solar panels or green roofs to be built on new rooftop installations of all sizes (with some exceptions).
Benefits of Sustainable Roofing for NYC
Solar panels are an essential part of moving towards true energy efficiency. While upgrading to electric appliances – like air source heat pumps or induction cooktops – improve a building’s overall efficiency, running those appliances, and the rest of the building, off of clean solar energy is even better.
Want to learn more about the benefits of rooftop solar?
Green roofs provide a number of benefits to urban environments, including:
- Improvements in air quality and biodiversity
- Creation of recreational space
- Increased energy efficiency by acting as an insulator, reducing the energy needed for heating and cooling
What are the building requirements of NYC Local Law 92 and 94?
LL 92 and 94 mandated that beginning November 15, 2019, all new buildings and roof replacements in NYC must install a solar photovoltaic system or green roof (or a combination of the two). There are some exceptions and different requirements based on the size, classification, and slope of the roof.
- For continuous roof area greater than 200 square feet (100 square feet or more in Group R buildings up to five stories), and a slope below 2:12
- A solar system, green roof, or a combination of both, must be installed.
- If the solar power capacity cannot reach 4 kW due to conditions like shading, a green roof is the only option.
- A minimum solar panel efficiency of 15% must be used for all calculations.
- For continuous roof area of less than 200 square feet (less than 100 square feet in Group R buildings up to five stories), and a slope below 2:12
- A solar system reaching 4 kW must cover the entire area
- If solar capacity cannot be reached, the entire area must be covered by a green roof
- A combination of a solar PV system and green roof is not allowed
- Continuous roof area with a slope higher than 2:12
- A solar PV system is the only option because the slope is too great for a green roof
- However, if a solar capacity of 4 kW cannot be reached, that roof section is exempt from LL92/94
Exceptions to LL 92 and 94
The requirements of this law apply to all new roof installations in the city and are based on the square footage of “continuous” or available space on the roof. In some cases, a roof or sections of a roof may be exempt from the requirements of these laws. Here are some exceptions:
- If the slope of the roof is greater than 2:12 and a solar system would not reach a capacity of 4 kW
- Too much of the roof area is occupied by other structures such as water towers, mechanical equipment, or stormwater management systems
- The roof is already occupied by recreational spaces
- If you’re making simple repairs to your roof, rather than replacing it altogether
Solar Panels vs. Green Roofs
Solar systems and green roofs are both great tools for improving energy efficiency, but are not necessarily interchangeable in terms of their environmental benefits.
With just a solar PV system, you’ll be improving your building’s energy use by changing the power supply. Rather than relying on nonrenewable fossil fuels to power the building, your solar panels would provide clean, renewable electricity. This is energy that doesn’t pollute, will always be available and won’t face supply price hikes. Solar PV systems are especially beneficial for energy efficiency when used in conjunction with electric appliances like hot water heaters and air source heat pumps.
Green roofs are versatile spaces with a variety of environmental benefits. They can provide recreational areas, house agriculture and biodiversity, and improve air quality and urban heat island effects. When it comes to energy efficiency, green roofs act as insulation for buildings, reducing energy consumption for heating and cooling. Decreasing the use of heating and cooling systems also means saving energy costs and extending the longevity of HVAC systems.
If your roof allows it, a combination of green roof and solar PV system can be a great upgrade for your building. Our patented Brooklyn Solar Canopy is elevated nine feet above the roof surface to avoid obstructions. As a result, it also provides shade and living space underneath.
Check out this green roof-canopy combo that one of our customers created:
How to Calculate Your Roof Area Covered by LL 92 & 94
Because some areas of your roof, like FDNY fire paths and other structures, are exempt from LL 92 and 94 coverage, you’ll need to calculate the area of your roof that needs to comply. It’s best to work with a certified design professional or contractor on this, but you can expect to subtract the following areas from your total roof area:
- Required FDNY roof access: for every 100 square feet of rooftop, there should be a clear path of at least 6 feet in width stretching across the building.
- HVAC equipment and existing structures like stormwater management systems
- Recreational spaces
How to Be Compliant with NYC’s Sustainable Roof Policies
In order to comply with LL 92 and 94 (NYC green roof law), you should work with a contractor or design professional to determine if your roof is suitable for solar panels, a green roof, or both, or if it’s exempt from the requirements of the mandate. From there, you can choose a solar or green roof installer that best fits your building’s needs.
Interested in installing solar panels on your new roof? Learn about how we can help you comply with LL 92 and 94:
Building permits filed with the DOB must submit a Local Laws 92/94 of 2019 Solar and Green Roof Systems form certifying their compliance with, or exemption from, the requirements of Local Laws 92 and 94 prior to approval.
New York City Sustainability and Energy Efficiency
NYC has some of the most ambitious sustainability goals in the country, which is a great thing for our fight against climate change. A major part of achieving carbon neutrality is reducing the carbon emissions of our buildings by choosing renewable energy sources and increasing energy efficiency.
While NYC Local Law 92 and 94 apply only to new buildings and roofs, energy efficient upgrades are a great idea for any building or home. If you’re making the switch to clean energy, choose an expert. Brooklyn SolarWorks has made solar energy appealing and accessible for over 1,500 property owners across the city.
Need solar panels to comply with LL 92 and 94? Get started:
Just last month, Governor Hochul committed to increasing New York’s minimum distributed solar energy goal to 10 gigawatts by 2030. New Yorkers elected leaders who passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in 2019, a law to tax polluters and invest in clean energy jobs.
Despite bold climate goals, the State is implementing policies that tax solar in NYC and make it more inaccessible. Governor Hochul has the ability to intervene before the end of the year. Let’s hold our leaders and the Public Service Commission to their word.
New York’s community solar credit has ended
The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) authorized the Community Solar Credit in April of 2020. This credit subsidized 350 megawatts of community solar projects in Con Edison’s territory — New York City and Westchester. This was an initiative that offered flexibility for community solar that hadn’t previously existed, driving growth of the market unlike ever before. But the funding source for this credit has run out.
The funds have dried up…due to the State’s financing of fossil fuels
Due to a loophole in the program, the New York Green Bank — funded by electric customers — used nearly half of the community solar fund to finance natural gas fuel cell projects. Rather than further subsidizing clean, zero-emissions energy, the State instead financed more fossil fuel systems.
What’s more, this program has essentially been left in limbo. The community solar fund has dried up, and there’s been no effort by the State or PSC to replenish it.
Earlier this year, NYSEIA and New York City petitioned the PSC to replenish the incentive to make up for the amount allocated toward natural gas projects and to further the program. The PSC announced a forthcoming report about the future of solar in NYC, expected to be released this fall. But until that happens, community solar development in NYC is stalled.
Community solar is NYC’s path towards achieving climate goals
The community solar program has been incredibly beneficial in spreading solar in NYC. With two-thirds of New Yorkers renting their homes rather than owning, home solar is not feasible for everyone. But community solar allows those who rent and those with lower incomes to benefit from clean energy without having to own the system. Con Edison estimates that there are around 9,000 electric customers in its territory that receive energy generated by community solar systems.
Further, it goes without saying that development in NYC is expensive and complex. Without support from the State’s community solar credit, many of these projects lose financial viability.
With a low percentage of homeowners and high development costs in NYC, community solar is the answer to New York’s clean energy goals.
A tax on New York solar is coming
The ending of the community solar credit is not the only way New York is undermining its goals. NYSERDA announced last year that Phase One Net Metering (net metering as it is now) will no longer be available for solar projects starting January 1, 2022. Also starting next year, Con Edison will be charging new solar customers a Customer Benefit Contribution (CBC) charge, as directed by the PSC. Both of these policy changes were implemented to address cost-shifting.
Like the community solar credit, the current Net Metering program has been instrumental in the spread of solar throughout NYC; yet this new charge disincentivizes the investment in solar. When it comes to cost shifting, the truth is that solar owners account for only about 1% of total electric customers in the state. Thus, any cost shifting that occurs cannot be very significant.
Making the switch to clean solar energy is a significant financial investment that benefits the entire grid; however, it will now result in an extra charge from Con Edison. This charge will unfairly target solar customers and therefore stunt the growth of residential solar in NYC.
Governor Hochul & the State still have time to act
With ambitious climate goals and a population that supports the Climate Act, New York’s solar industry should be thriving. Yet, there is a clear disconnect between the State’s clean energy goals and its current solar policies. But there’s still time to intervene.
BSW joins NYSEIA in calling on Governor Hochul and the PSC to take action before the end of the year. The Governor and the PSC should work to replenish the community solar credit. They should also postpone fees on residential and commercial solar installations until the impact of imposing a solar tax within the context of New York’s climate goals is fully analyzed by an independent party.
We appreciate all that Governor Hochul is doing for clean energy in our state. But we encourage her to continue taking the lead to ensure New York can fully realize its solar goals by preventing the enactment of policies that undermine progress.
If you want to see New York stick to its word on clean energy goals, we encourage you to make your voice heard.
Contact the New York State Governor’s office HERE.
Find your New York State Assembly member’s contact information HERE.
Find your New York State Senator’s contact information HERE.
Whether you’re still considering solar or you’re gearing up for your installation, here’s a glimpse into what you can expect.
The Solar Install Team Arrives
Our crew arrives at 9am and starts working immediately. They require access to the roof, basement, and yard spaces for the duration of the work day, which typically concludes around 5pm. Based on the size of your solar system, it’ll take 1-2 days to complete (weather permitting).
We hoist the panels and related equipment onto the roof using a pulley that’s set up at the front of your building. The electrical components of your system are carried to their set up location.
Solar System Installation Begins
We use a UL listed product called OMG to attach our solar components to the roof decking. These are watertight connections designed to withstand the NYC weather.
From there, we fasten the external conduit in a discrete location on either the front or backside of your home. We then enter into the building basement either in the front of the building or backyard. All penetrations are flashed and sealed for watertightness.
Then, we mechanically fasten the solar panels to the heavy duty solar racking.
The Inverter is Connected
We install the inverter, or “brains” of your solar system, either on the roof or in the basement near your electrical service panel. The inverter is approximately the size of a carry-on suitcase.
We pull the wire through the conduit to the basement. Then we connect all the DC and AC wiring to the inverter.
After the Installation: Financing & Monitoring
After we’ve installed your system, Con Edison will replace your existing meter with a net meter and issue a final acceptance letter shortly thereafter. At this point, the installation is registered with their billing system. You can then activate your system by turning on the AC disconnect switch or dedicated solar breaker. We can provide instructions, or stop by to assist.
In order to set up monitoring for your system, we can connect your new equipment to your WiFi network. We’ll connect the system on-site and will set up your monitoring login a few days after the installation.
We will reach out regarding the final payment details shortly after the installation is completed and turned on. You may pay by ACH debit in your customer portal, paper check, or credit card. Credit card payments incur a 2.75% fee. If you have loan paperwork to finalize we will ask you to do so at this time. Please note that this payment is not the final payment to Brooklyn SolarWorks. The final payment comes from NYSERDA at final sign-off and is approximately 5% of project costs.
Your solar installation is now complete! Congrats on making the switch to clean energy.
Whether you’ve just signed up or are beginning to research solar options, we hope this helped to illustrate our unique turnkey process for completing NYC solar installations. One of our pride points is once a customer agrees to their project, we handle the rest. We’ve got you covered – from assessment, to permitting, installation, and claiming your solar tax credits.
If you’re ready to go solar, schedule a free site evaluation.
To revisit your custom solar proposal, contact our team at email@example.com.
Starting next year, Con Edison will be charging new solar customers a Customer Benefit Contribution (CBC) charge. This new charge is effectively a solar tax in New York City. While it will not significantly affect the investment in solar, we want to make sure our customers are aware of the upcoming changes.
Read on for what you need to know about the New York “solar tax.”
What is the CBC charge?
Starting January 1, 2022, Con Edison will be applying a Customer Benefit Contribution (CBC) charge to the electric bills of solar owners whose systems were interconnected on or after this date.
Note: If your system was installed prior to this date, you will not be charged for the CBC. You’ll continue to receive the full retail value of the energy produced by your system for the next 20 years.
The CBC charge is based on the DC nameplate rating, service class, and location of the solar system. We expect this “solar tax” to cost NYC solar owners $7-$10 per month.
Where did this solar tax come from?
Last year, Con Edison announced it would be making changes to its current Net Metering program. Some states have begun to do the same in order to address cost shifting. Utility companies claim that they need to charge their non-solar customers more money in order to make up for the revenue they lose from the Net Metering of clean energy.
To address cost shifting at the state level, NYSERDA announced last July that Phase One Net Metering (the program as it is now) will only be available for projects interconnected before January 1, 2022.
Making the switch to clean, solar energy is a significant financial investment that benefits the entire grid. However, it will now result in an extra charge from Con Edison. This charge is effectively a tax on solar in New York.
Is the CBC charge final?
This charge will unfairly target solar customers and therefore stunt the growth of solar in NYC, which undermines the city and state’s sustainability goals. For this reason, members of the solar industry are doing what they can to fight back. Brooklyn SolarWorks, NYSEIA, and a number of other solar companies and organizations in New York have filed comments with the state on the charge.
The current Net Metering program has been instrumental in the spread of solar throughout NYC; yet this new charge disincentivizes the investment in solar. When it comes to cost shifting, the truth is that solar owners account for only about 1% of total electric customers in the state. Thus, any cost shifting that occurs cannot be very significant. Further, making the switch to solar is an investment that has considerable economic and environmental benefits for both Con Edison and the city as a whole.
The CBC is just another barrier to residential solar in our city. We believe solar should be becoming more accessible to New Yorkers, not the other way around.
Will the CBC charge affect my investment in solar?
While the potential savings from the current Net Metering program will decrease, it is important to know that the return on your investment in solar will not change significantly.
Though payback periods may vary when factoring in these new changes, the investment in solar is still worthwhile, for yourself, for your community, and for the planet.
With that said, energy policy in New York is always evolving. If you’re considering solar, we urge you to move forward as soon as possible to avoid any potential uncertainty.
Take charge of your electric bill and help spread solar! Talk with us about making the switch to solar today.
If you’re considering solar, you’ve most likely heard that going solar in NYC is too expensive. Perhaps you’ve heard solar panels won’t hold up during hurricanes or that they make homes look unappealing.
Don’t worry, we’ve heard the same. We’re here to let you know that these ideas are totally false! In this article, we’ll go through the most common solar misconceptions we hear and prove them to be pure myths.
Myth: Flat roofs can’t go solar.
For many years, this was a common belief in the solar industry. Most solar contractors in the area had embraced methods and practices that were developed for the suburban customer and home. As a result, the industry as a whole avoided the borough’s dense residential neighborhoods and iconic flat roof townhomes.
We’ve built Brooklyn SolarWorks as a business to close this gap. This has meant pioneering entirely new design and residential solar installation methods that match the unique characteristics of the local housing stock. We’ve also acquired a mastery of the City’s complex code, zoning and permitting rules. We specifically developed our most famous innovation — the patented, award-winning Brooklyn Solar Canopy — to make solar viable on townhome roofs.
When other installers say no to flat roof solar, we say yes!
Myth: Solar systems cannot withstand freezing temperatures, hail, hurricanes, or other extreme weather.
BSW’s solar panel provider REC tests their panels thoroughly against a broad range of extreme weather.
BSW systems have also undergone extensive testing: our canopy can hold around 48,000 pounds. This means it can withstand a blizzard’s worth of snow and over 120 mph winds — exceeding the city’s wind requirements. (For reference, when Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey, the highest recorded wind speed was 80 mph.)
To ensure maximum stability, we bolt our systems to the roof’s underlying rafters. We use a UL listed product called OMG to attach our solar components to the roof decking. These watertight connections ensure stability in times of harsh NYC weather.
Myth: There aren’t any financial benefits to going solar in NYC.
Going solar is absolutely worth it! As a New Yorker, you can take advantage of some of the best solar tax incentives in the country.
But that’s not all: going solar will reduce (or eliminate!) your electric bill. While solar won’t disconnect your home from Con Edison, it will decrease your dependence on energy coming from the grid.
Your solar system will likely produce more energy than your home even needs. This excess energy will be sent back into the grid, but ConEd will return it to you in the form of retail energy credits applied toward your future electric bills (this is a program called Net Metering). These credits can drastically reduce your monthly payments to ConEd or even eliminate them altogether. Making the switch to solar just makes financial sense.
Myth: Solar in NYC is too expensive.
The solar tax incentives available to New Yorkers can cover around 60 percent of the cost of your solar system come tax season.
But for that remaining 40 percent, the way you pay is up to you. There are a number of financing options available, such as New York State-backed loans. We like to tell our customers that if you’re paying taxes and your electric bill, you can afford to go solar.
The total cost of our systems average around $35,000, but vary depending on system size. While this number may seem a bit out of reach, it’s more affordable than you think.
Myth: Solar systems look unappealing and they’ll make your home unattractive.
We respect that homeowners may have aesthetic concerns. That’s why we customize our solar system designs to fit our customers’ needs.
Our canopy design is our pride and joy. It’s a patented, award-winning design that we created in collaboration with Situ Studio to make solar accessible on city rooftops. Many of our customers love it because it allows you to create a living space on your rooftop while still producing energy from the sun.
But canopies aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and sometimes aren’t the best option for every roof anyway. Tilt racks, for example, are angled, closer to the roof surface, and can be installed so that the system is not visible from the street.
If you’re still not convinced, a 2019 study by Zillow found that solar increases home resale value by an average of 4.1% across the country. The study found that the solar boost was higher in the New York metro area than the national average, topping out at 5.4%. The NYC solar premium was 1.8% more than it is statewide. That’s an extra $23,989 in value for solar home owners in the five boroughs. Sounds like solar is pretty attractive after all!
Myth: Solar systems require a lot of cleaning and maintenance.
Solar systems require very little maintenance. You don’t need to clean your panels. Your solar array is angled so that rainwater can run off naturally, taking with it any build up and debris. If you do choose to clean your panels, however, avoid harsh detergents and metal or hard plastic brushes that could scratch the glass.
You also don’t need to clean snow off of your panels and we don’t recommend it. The power you may miss out on during a snowstorm is minimal. It’s not worth risking a trip up to an icy rooftop.
Myth: Solar doesn’t work when it’s not sunny.
While it’s true that your solar system will produce less when it’s very cloudy or snowy, Con Edison’s Net Metering program allows you to utilize solar even when the system’s not actively producing.
In short, your system produces a lot of excess energy when it’s sunny. Con Ed will return this excess energy to you in retail energy credits. You can use these when the sun’s not shining at night or on a cloudy day.
Myth: The area under the solar canopy has to stay empty.
One of the great things about the canopy design is having the ability to utilize the space underneath by creating your own rooftop living space. Our customers have created some incredible Green Roof spaces over the years.
Myth: Landmarked homes can’t go solar in NYC.
Landmark status used to be considered disqualifying for solar, but not anymore!
For these homes, solar installations must be completely invisible from all angles on street level, front and back. We’ve developed zero visibility installation methods, and have mastered the City’s complex landmarks design and application rules.
As a result, solar is not only possible on these formerly “no go” properties, but landmarked homes are now among our most common project types in Park Slope, Bedford Stuyvesant, Sunset Park and other historic neighborhoods.
Myth: Solar canopies can be installed closer to the roof surface.
Our canopies are elevated to nine feet above the roof’s surface to comply with current FDNY fire code. This one is out of our hands!
Myth: BSW chooses not to offer solar battery storage.
This is another design factor that is unfortunately out of our hands. FDNY has specific policies surrounding solar battery installations in residential buildings that currently make obtaining a permit impossible. Although we can’t install batteries now, all BSW systems can be retrofitted to accommodate a battery once they are allowed.
Also, we consider Con Edison’s Net Metering Program to be a kind of virtual battery. Net Metering is a billing mechanism that allows you to store your excess solar energy as retail energy credits to be used at a later date. So, you can still utilize your solar production even when the sun isn’t shining, just like a physical battery.
There are countless myths about NYC solar out there. Nevertheless, going solar will always make sense: for your wallet, for your home, and for the planet.
Making the switch to solar is a big decision. That’s why we’re here to clear up any misconceptions and answer any questions you have throughout the process.
Questions? Get in touch with a member of our team now.
Are you ready to flip the switch to solar? Schedule your free consultation today.