U.S. Energy Group, helping facility managers reduce fuel consumption and monitor their buildings, announces USE Solar, a new initiative in solar energy. The USE Solar project focuses on the potential for large multi-family residential and commercial buildings to make use of solar power to decrease their electricity usage, and reaffirms U.S. Energy Group’s commitment to decreasing energy use, energy costs, and the environmental impact of New York’s buildings.
U.S. Energy Group has selected “The Renee” building, a six story 120 unit co-op, located at 78-40 164th Street in Fresh Meadows, NY as the “beta test site” for its new solar initiative—tied to its USE manager Internet-based monitoring system. The Renee, also houses the company’s headquarters and is the beta site for its Energy Management Systems (EMS). Because the roof of The Renee has very little shading, it is uniquely suited for a solar project. This is an important initiative, because very few co-ops in New York City use solar energy.
“I am thrilled to bring solar energy to the Renee,” stated Jerry Pindus, founder and CEO of U.S. Energy Group. “We are developing energy sources and technologies and processes that will help control and monitor electricity usage and achieve immediate savings, while capturing available government energy credits and tax benefits. U.S. Energy Group is on a continuing quest to help buildings operate more efficiently, and this project reaffirms our commitment to alternative energy. We anticipate The Renee will become a showcase for installing affordable and commercially viable solar energy.”
Solar power refers to the conversion of radiant energy from the sun into electricity. In this case, the solar panels being installed on the roof of the Renee will convert sunlight into DC electricity where it will be routed into the utility room, converted to AC (usable) electricity, and tied into the common area electric panel for direct use in the building. This will reduce the Renee’s overall electricity and hedge against future price increases while mitigating the building’s environmental impact.
Quixotic Systems, Inc. and Tristate Solar, Inc. are working with U.S. Energy Group on the Renee and will install a 24.85 kW photovoltaic (PV) system on the roof. The system will consist of 142 solar modules of 200 watt’s each, at a size of 5’ x 3’. The modules are made from a monocrystalline silicone technology, which has been cut, laminated, framed in aluminum and glazed. Quixotic is designing the system; and Tristate is working as a project integrator and figuring out the mounting and wiring.
“Quixotic is very excited to be a part of this new solar project and to be working with Tristate and U.S. Energy Group,” stated Richard Klein, Quixotic Systems. “Solar energy is a very attractive option for coops, and we are pleased to be leading the way.
“Tristate Solar Inc. is thrilled to be installing the clean solar power generating system at The Renee building and looks forward to working with U.S. Energy Group on future solar projects in New York City,” said Doug Roether, president of Tristate Solar. “We believe this project is only the first of many in what is sure to be a successful alliance between energy efficiency and clean power generation.”
With average weather projections, the solar system will provide 17% to 20% of the Renee’s common use space electricity. Additionally, the system is projected to prevent the production of approximately 27,139 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. NYSERDA, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, is supportive of alternative energy initiatives and has offered a $100,000 rebate incentive for this project. Additionally, the project might be eligible for federal and state tax credits, as well as a property abatement tax of 8.75% for four years. It is projected to ROI within three years.
The residents of The Renee are benefiting directing from this project. First, they will have the pride associated with living in an energy efficient building, and directly working to meet New York’s sustainability initiatives. Second, new commercial net metering rules will allow the coop to sell back the unused electricity to the grid, and the tax credits will be passed along to the tenants individually. Third, the property they own, as coop residents, will increase in value, as solar energy provides a locked in, non-inflatable price of electricity with immediate benefits. For every dollar saved in making a home or building energy efficient, the value increases significantly. Therefore, their coop apartments in The Renee are actually worth more.
“The success of any conservation initiative is in the numbers,” stated Pindus. “The innovative processes we are developing to measure USE Solar will provide the proof of its success.”