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 today.
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. Get in touch with us today!
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 like skylights, hatches, HVAC equipment, and 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. Factors such as roof structure, workable roof area, and shading come into play. 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!)
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, about 25% 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.
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 an art – 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 financing options available – you may choose to pay in cash up front, or finance it over 20 years at 1.49% APR.
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 in touch!
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 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.
Schedule your free consultation to get started today!
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, 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.
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. Recently, some New Yorkers saw their Con Ed bills double or triple in just one month, despite there being no differences in usage from the last month.
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 are on the rise. In January, the national average electric rate was up 8 percent from the previous year, while New York State saw an increase of 15 percent. New York City is notorious for its energy prices, with New Yorkers paying an average of 35 to 40 percent more for electricity than the rest of the country – despite being very 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 2019, the average residential bill at 300 kWh was $65.42, and in 2021, it was $73.11.
These rate increases are a result of 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 system requires further upgrades. Plus, most of our electricity comes from the burning of fossil fuels, which will always be subject to the volatility of the market.
Why are energy bills so high right now?
In January and February, many New Yorkers were hit with sticker shock when they received their electric bills. Con Ed customers across the city saw their bills double or even triple, despite using no more energy than the months before.
On your Con Edison bill, you have two main charges: supply and delivery. The delivery charge is the cost of transporting energy into your home and is regulated by the Public Service Commission (PSC). 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.
The recent spike in electric bills was due to a sudden increase in supply charges, not delivery. Around 70 percent of the electricity used in NYC is powered by natural gas, which has been more expensive for the past several months due to the pandemic and the war in Eastern Europe. Con Ed sells energy to you at cost – it’s not legally allowed to profit from the sale of electricity – so in this case, it’s not all Con Ed’s fault.
However, the Gov. Kathy Hochul called on Con Edison to reform its billing practices after this surge came as such a shock to customers, particularly those who were already financially strained due to the pandemic.
Are these soaring electric costs here to stay?
At this point, the recent surge has begun to level out. But 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. Unfortunately, this won’t be the last time that you’ll be left wondering why your Con Edison bill is so high.
Plus: although Con Ed’s not allowed to profit from the supply of electricity, it can raise its delivery rate. And it’s been doing just that. In 2020, the PSC approved a three-year incremental increase in electric rates totaling 13.5 percent. In February of 2022, Con Ed requested another increase of 11.2 percent starting in 2023. The reasoning behind these increases is to fund infrastructure upgrades and invest in clean energy initiatives.
But there’s a better way to invest in clean energy as a homeowner. Take control of your energy costs by installing rooftop solar. Brooklyn SolarWorks can help – get in touch today.
How can New Yorkers combat high electric bills?
It may feel like the cost of electricity is out of your control. The solutions can vary depending on your home situation and income level. But no matter what 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. In fact, many of our customers’ systems produce enough energy to eliminate their electricity charges from Con Ed altogether. After your solar panel installation, you’ll reduce your reliance on Con Ed and on fossil fuels, and you’ll have access to free, renewable energy for decades.
If you’re looking for energy independence, solar is the answer. Contact us today to start your journey.
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. If you own a home, upgrading to an air source heat pump or a heat pump water heater could be good options. Using Energy Star washing machines and refrigerators can help too.
This applies to smaller appliances, too. There are energy efficient lighting, dehumidifiers, window AC units, fans, and even laptops on the market that can make an impact on your home’s electricity usage.
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.
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. Though the most recent surge has leveled out, it’s bound to happen again. But 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! Schedule a free consultation today.
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.
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 CMA, 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 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 what we have here in the city.
Brooklyn SolarWorks was founded to change that. While our installations today look a little different, 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 1,000 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 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 recent 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 climate weather events exasperated by climate change, like extreme weather 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 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 flat roofs and expertly navigating NYC’s complex permitting process for over seven years.
Join over 1,000 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, while LL 92 adjusts the 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 and 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? Contact us!
Green roofs provide a number of benefits to urban environments, like improvements in air quality and biodiversity and creating recreational space. But a green roof can also increase the energy efficiency of a building 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? Contact us to 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 1,000 property owners across the city.
Need solar panels to comply with LL 92 and 94? Interested in upgrading your home? Schedule a consultation to 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.