September 25, 2018 - Montrose, NY
On September 1st, Westchester County’s second community solar project was connected to the electrical grid. SunLight General Capital built the 147kW project on the roof of a manufacturing company, Quality Circle Products. The success of the project has neighboring towns interested in implementing community solar projects of their own.
“We were delighted to partner with Sustainable Westchester and Quality Circle Products to develop one of the state’s earliest community solar projects,” commented Edouard Klehe, one of SunLight General Capital’s managing partners. “It’s a win for the environment and the local community. It’s also a model for economically viable solar in the area.”
Community solar is a new initiative for making solar power a viable economic alternative for all residents in every local community. The users of clean energy do not need to install the panels on their homes to access the clean energy. Rather, new solar projects can be built off-site (on more suitable land or rooftops) and the clean renewable electricity purchased remotely by environmentally-minded subscribers. Sustainable Westchester, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the local sustainability and expansion of renewable energy, helped organize community subscribers to purchase the solar power from the Montrose roof.
Project Manager Nina Orville said, “Local residents are now purchasing clean, renewable electricity – at a discount to their ordinary utility rates”. She also noted that while the demand for solar power in Westchester has steadily been growing, only about 20% of the interested residents have roofs which are appropriate for solar panel installation. Typically, a resident is precluded from access to solar energy for reasons such as insufficient roof space, shading from trees, or residency in a multifamily complex. Community Solar allows every resident a clean solar option.
On September 21st at the Green Business Partnership Leaders in Sustainability Speaker Series, community members gathered to celebrate and learn more about Community Solar in Westchester County. Quality Circle Products owner Gary Flaum said, “We’re proud to be one of the first community solar projects in downstate New York. Community Solar is a model, which works for investors, building owners, and neighborhood residents.” Mr. Flaum also noted that on-site electrical production, such as the installation on Quality Circle, is an efficient use of an otherwise stressed electrical grid. He encouraged local building owners to investigate community solar on open roofs and unused tracts of land.
This solar project was developed, financed and is currently being operated by SunLight General Capital. The project construction came in on budget and is even producing more energy than originally planned. SunLight General Capital is actively working with several local communities in the tri-state area to develop community solar projects, and it welcomes inquiry about new potential opportunities.