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article imageLow-income customers in New York to get solar energy

By Karen Graham     Aug 10, 2017 in Technology
The New York Public Service Commission has approved a large-scale solar project in New York City proposed by Con Edison that will supply clean energy to about 800 to 1,600 low-income customers in its first phase.
As part of Con Edison's "Shared Solar" pilot project, customers in Brooklyn, Queens, and Westchester County enrolled in Con Edison’s low-income bill assistance program who receive bills directly from the company are eligible for the first phase of the program.
The "Shared Solar" Project is in line with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s visionary Clean Energy Standard adopted by the Public Service Commission last year. Con Edison says their shared-solar program is a milestone in Governor Cuomo's Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy to fight climate change and grow New York’s economy.
Con Edison plans to install 3MW of solar capacity in the first phase of the project, with the selected customers expected to begin getting renewable energy by 2018. According to the company, as much as 11MW of solar capacity will be installed over a period of five years, eventually serving up to 6,000 customers.
Companies will competitively bid on contracts to install the solar panels on company roofs and grounds. There is no cost to participating customers who will be saving as much as $60 a year on their electric bills. Con Edison estimates the cost of the first phase of the program at $10 million.
Con Ed crews work around the clock restoring power to lines that have been damaged by Hurricane Sand...
Con Ed crews work around the clock restoring power to lines that have been damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Con Edison/Michael Kamber
“We thank the state Public Service Commission for its careful review and approval of the first phase of our Shared Solar Pilot Program, which will make renewable energy available to a group of customers who have been largely shut out of the solar market,” Matthew Ketschke, Con Edison’s vice president of Distributed Resource Integration, said, according to Daily Energy Insider. “More customers having access to renewable energy will mean a cleaner environment here in New York City and Westchester County.”
The is another upside to the program, besides helping low-income customers on their energy bills. Utility companies raise public awareness while increasing clean energy literacy when they talk about clean energy opportunities with the public. Doing so leads to increased participation in energy efficiency programs that will lead to healthier and more environmentally safe neighborhoods.
Another pilot project in Buffalo, New York was started by National Grid. The company is installing rooftop solar panels on 170 low- and moderate-income homes, including some community organization's offices on Buffalo's East Side. They recently announced they had reached 500-kilowatts of generating capacity.
More about con ed, New york, Solar energy, Shared Solar Pilot Program, solar market
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