Con Edison Customers Set Solar Records in 2021
Customers Saving Money, Reducing Emissions; Company Encourages Solar as Part of Clean Energy Push
Con Edison customers set a record in 2021 when it came to installing solar arrays, adding enough capacity to prevent the equivalent of more than 66,000 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the air.
Customers in New York City and Westchester County, N.Y. completed 7,280 arrays atop their homes and businesses during the year, as the economy recovered from a recession. Those panels have the capacity to generate 71 megawatts, or 71 million watts.
That’s more than enough clean, carbon-free electricity to power a 12-square-block area of Midtown Manhattan that includes the Empire State Building on a hot summer day. It’s enough to run more than 1 million laptop computers.
“Our customers are great partners in our quest to help New York State and New York City achieve their environmental goals and create a clean energy future,” said Joe White, Con Edison’s distributed generation ombudsman. “They are showing their commitment to making our region a model of sustainability to the benefit of the millions who live, work and visit here, as well as to future generations.”
Installing solar panels also dramatically reduces a customer’s electric bills. State law allows customers to send excess power their panels generate onto the grid and get paid for it.
Con Edison is seeking New York State Public Service Commission permission to own large-scale solar generation in New York State. Customers would save money if Con Edison owned these facilities because utilities can run them at lower costs than private developers.
In an investment plan filed with the PSC, Con Edison proposed ownership of up to 1,000 megawatts of large-scale solar generation between 2024 and 2034 and using the revenues to further increase our low-income bill discount.
Con Edison customers have now completed nearly 43,000 solar projects on their roofs with the capacity to produce 398 megawatts. Those projects avoid the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by more than 80,000 cars.
Customers in Queens completed 2,520 projects last year, more than any other region in 2021. Customers in Westchester added the most capacity, installing enough panels to generate nearly 19 megawatts.
In all, Queens customers have installed 13,854 solar projects, the most among the regions that Con Edison serves. Westchester customers lead the way in production with the panels in the county having the capacity to produce 102.7 megawatts.
Adding more solar to the region’s energy mix is part of Con Edison’s Clean Energy Commitment.
The company offers a device to solar installers and new customers called Smart ConnectDER, which allows a customer to avoid the cost of upgrading the home’s circuit breaker panel and excessive electrical boxes on the side of the house.
The device can save a solar customer upwards of $1,000 and is available following a successful pilot program in 2019. Customers or installers who are interested can send an e-mail to ConnectDer@coned.com.
The company shortens the process for customers with solar projects greater than 50 kilowatts up to 5 megawatts. Customers applying to interconnect these projects meeting certain criteria may avoid paying for a detailed engineering review that could take up to three months.
Con Edison’s efforts to speed the approval process include allowing developers to make payments electronically via Automated Clearing House or wire transfers.
The company has also enhanced a software program that streamlines communication and project inquiries between developers, applicants and Con Edison.
Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. [NYSE: ED], one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $14 billion in annual revenues and $63 billion in assets. The utility delivers electricity, natural gas and steam to 3.5 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, N.Y.