US energy provider Con Edison is set to begin deploying a solar energy pilot programme to provide low-income consumers with affordable energy.In a statement, the utility said it secured an approval from the New York State Public Service Commission to install solar panels on the company’s premises and building rooftops in Brooklyn, Queens and Westchester County service territories.
The first phase of the pilot is expected to costs $10 million and will include the installation of solar panels to generate 3MW of energy capacity to serve between 800 and 1,600 consumers registered under the company’s low-income bill assistance programme.
Con Edison filed a proposal with the state’s regulator to install solar panels on its premises as a measure to secure its energy supply, meet peak demands and keep the energy bills of its customers low.
In total, the utility’s programme aims to install up to 11MW of solar on its premises over the next five years to provide between 3,000 and 6,000 low-income customers with electricity.
The programme is being deployed in partnership with multiple solar companies and community organisations at no cost to consumers to result in energy efficiency savings of up to $60 per year.
Consumer adoption of solar panels
Matthew Ketschke, Con Edison's vice president, Distributed Resource Integration, commented: "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.”
According to Con Edison, factors such as lack of funding and unavailability of land and properties for installation of solar panels is restraining adoption of solar by its low-income consumers.
The majority of consumers registered under Con Edison’s Low-income assistance programme either rent their homes or live in multi-family buildings. Amongst 10,000 of the utility’s customers with solar panels on their rooftops, only 200 are registered with the company’s low-income assistance programme.
"More customers having access to renewable energy will mean a cleaner environment here in New York City and Westchester County."
The programme is in line with the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) which aims to improve the adoption of distributed energy resources and reduce carbon emissions in the state.
Image Credit: 123rf.