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Con Edison Eyes Solar For Homes, Businesses


NEW YORK – Con Edison has filed a proposal with the Public Service Commission (PSC) for an 18-month solar energy pilot program encompassing homes, businesses, and the company’s own facilities, with the goal of generating 12 megawatts (MW) of solar electricity by 2011. One megawatt can power approximately 1,000 homes.

Con Edison’s filing this week supports solar power recommendations from Governor Paterson’s Renewable Energy Task Force as well as the City’s PlaNYC energy goals, and complements the state’s overall effort to make New York’s energy portfolio greener, more diversified, and more secure.

The company views the proposed program as a first step in promoting a vibrant solar industry in New York, especially given the number of underused and easily accessible flat roofs across the service area on commercial and residential buildings. The effort would also be supported by complementary business development efforts, including New York’s semiconductor industry, other high tech sectors like software design, and research and development efforts underway at private companies and public universities. The company’s filing notes that the pilot is intended to provide a “jumpstart” for solar installations.

“From the White House to Albany to City Hall, renewable energy is seen as a keystone for freeing the country from its dependence on fossil fuels and reducing carbon dioxide emissions, while creating new jobs,” said Gurudatta Nadkarni, Con Edison vice president for Strategic Planning. “What we learn will be invaluable, allowing us to better map the maximum beneficial impact of future investment in solar for our customers and the electric grid.”

The pilot program will study potential impact of solar installations on the electric grid’s most heavily-used sections, explore cost and available funding for solar generation, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and consumption of fossil fuels. The company also expects the program to yield important insights about customer interest in solar, its potential impact on system operations, and to spur more expansive projects after results are evaluated.

If approved, Con Edison’s initial solar proposal will generate up to:

* 5 MW from large installations of 200 kilowatts (kW) or more;
* 5 MW from smaller installations, primarily for residential or small to medium commercial customers; and
* 2 MW on Con Edison facilities in daytime peak-electric use neighborhoods.

Stimulus appropriations, federal and New York City tax incentives, as well as New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) funds will be sought to defray the estimated $20-$25 million initial pilot program costs, based on expected responses.


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