Consolidated Edison (Con Ed), which encourages customers to consider using the sun to generate electricity, is setting an example with the installation of a solar array at its landmark office tower in Manhattan. The 200-panel system, manufactured in the United States by Suniva Inc., generate 40 KW of renewable power -- enough electricity to light two floors at the Con Edison headquarters.
Con Edison’s project was made possible by a U.S. Department of Energy Smart Grid Stimulus grant. According to the utility, the project will save Con Edison ratepayers about $7,000 a year in electricity costs. Con Edison has also connected the solar array to a remote monitoring system that is updated every 15 minutes, enabling utility operators to monitor the production of the panels in real time.
“Our customers are discovering that they can use the power of the sun to cut their electric bills and help ensure a safe, sustainable future for New Yorkers,” said John McAvoy, Con Edison’s president and CEO. “We wanted to share our customers’ experience by installing solar panels on our building. We’re reducing our own electric bills, and helping the environment, too.”
The amount of solar production in the region has quadrupled in three years, as Con Edison and its partners have encouraged New Yorkers to consider the sun as a source of electricity for their homes and businesses. Con Edison customers in New York City and Westchester County have installed 2,000 solar projects, generating nearly 40 MW of power for their homes or businesses. That’s more than enough to power these famed New York buildings: The World Trade Center site (14 MW), the Empire State Building (9.5 MW), 30 Rockefeller Plaza, known as 30 Rock (4MW), Madison Square Garden (3 MW) and Yankee Stadium (2 MW).
Con Edison completed the installation in only five weeks by working with Gehrlicher Solar America Corp., which handled the engineering and project management, and Progressive Solutions LLC., which advised on design and installation. A time-lapse video of the 200-PV panel installation is available online.