THE BRONX -
A new solar program in the Bronx is aiming to help residents save money on their electric bill.
The Community Solar Program allows homeowners, churches, small business and renters to switch to natural energy. However, residents need to be a Con Edison customer to participate in the program.
OnForce Solar installs the panels and partners with Con Edison. Officials say about 1,500 solar panels were recently installed to power more than 100 households across the borough.
The idea is to level the playing field for anybody to participate in solar, whether you have a big house, apartment or no matter where you live, says Charles Feit, of OnForce Solar.
VIDEO: New solar program aims to help Bronx residents save money
Resident Steve Defrank says he pays about $300 a month during the summer and is looking into the program to lower the cost of his electric bill.
The old way doesn't work anymore, so this is a brand-new way I can participate without buying all the equipment, he says.
OnForce Solar officials say a dozen more solar sites will be installed throughout the Bronx in September.
Join the solar community! On Thursday, August 23rd, come have pizza, drinks, and learn about community solar, an innovative model that's making solar power more accessible and affordable in NYC and across the country. You'll hear from clean energy industry experts from Sustainable CUNY, PowerMarket, and The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.
If you’re already a community solar subscriber, come connect with other people in the network. If you’re not, learn how it works and see if community solar is right for you. (If you want to support clean energy and don’t mind saving money each month, then it probably is).
Bill Oberkehr, NYC Solar Ombudsman,
Sustainable CUNY Ellie Kahn, Policy Analyst, NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability
Conversation moderated by Caroline Thompson, Business Development Analyst at PowerMarket.
July’s featured startup - PowerMarket PowerMarket is a cleantech startup based in Downtown Brooklyn whose goal is to power the community by creating technology specializing in the production of clean, affordable energy. We talked to Travis Tench, Director of Outreach for the company to learn more about its cleantech initiatives and where the company is headed: July 06, 2018
Tell us about PowerMarket.
PowerMarket is a Brooklyn-based cleantech startup committed to making clean energy more accessible, affordable, and ubiquitous. We do this by creating software to manage shared renewable projects, such as community solar. We work with big utilities (such as ConEd) and an array of solar developers to give them the tools and services they need to make these projects run smoothly and get more clean energy on the grid. We also work with a variety of environmental advocacy and community groups to do outreach and education about the energy transition we’re in the midst of. DBP:
What exactly is community solar and why does it matter?
Community solar is the sharing economy for solar. Instead of buying panels and putting them on your roof, you subscribe to a piece of a large array built in your area. It costs you nothing to join, you save money on electricity, and you support new local solar projects. The community solar model matters because it includes everyone. There are a lot of reasons that most people can’t traditionally “go solar”— upfront costs, having a shaded roof, being renters—but community solar opens renewable energy to people who would have previously been excluded. It’s also important because we’re at a critical point in history where we have to change the way in which we get our energy and shift away from fossil fuels - community solar allows it to happen much faster. DBP:
Who are your customers and what is your competitive offering to them?
Our customers are community solar subscribers, utility companies, and renewable energy (mostly solar) project developers. Our community solar subscribers are homeowners, renters, small businesses, and places of worship throughout the country who want to do their part to help speed up our transition to renewable energy, and who also want save a little money on electricity. We make it easy for people to join projects and save them money. For utilities and developers, we offer turnkey software solutions so that they can quickly and easily create shared renewable projects. We manage projects for them on an ongoing basis, customize the suite of services for their specific needs, and handle things like credit allocation and billing. DBP:
Why did you choose to start your business in Brooklyn, and, can you speak to why Brooklyn is a great place for a startup to do business? TT:
Part of the reason is that most of us live in Brooklyn. But the reason many of us live in Brooklyn is because so much is happening here. It’s a hotspot for cleantech and innovation (and music, food, art, etc). We’ve also been very fortunate to have been one of the companies chosen to go through Urban Future Lab’s incubator program, which is based right in downtown Brooklyn, in the Metrotech Center. That’s been an incredible launchpad for us as a company. DBP:
What, if any, challenges do you face as a cleantech company in a fossil-fuel dominated industry? How do you see the cleantech / green energy industry growing in the future? TT:
As with anything new, there’s some inertia to overcome and some resistance to change in the industry. For most of us, we haven’t really had to think about how we get our electricity, and haven’t had the option to make choices around that. I think the biggest challenge is increasing awareness that people do have a choice now and helping people get up to speed on how it all works. Fortunately, we like talking about energy, so we have our work cut out for us.
The cleantech industry is growing fast and there are new companies starting all the time. I see things really taking off in the next couple years for community solar. Large scale storage will also play a critical role in getting renewable energy to the levels we need to power our cities. There are some big opportunities in building efficiency and IOT home automation so that we’re smarter about the way we use the energy we create. Fortunately, in addition to reducing emissions and making better use of our resources, these measures also save people money, which makes it that much easier to adopt. DBP:
What’s next for PowerMarket?
A lot more community solar. We’re moving soon too! The company has tripled in size over the last couple of years, and we’re outgrowing our office space in the Metrotech center. I expect that we’ll have some company outings to some of the amazing outdoor concerts here in Brooklyn over the summer as well. DBP:
Sounds great! How do I get involved or sign up?
I’m so glad you asked! We happen to have a few projects right here in the city that are open for enrollment. You can head to www.thepowermarket.com and choose a project near you, or give us a call at 212-381-6097 and we’ll help you get started.
You can learn more about PowerMarket
For Earth Day, environmental activists are encouraging people to look into community solar projects, which gives the benefits of solar energy without solar panels on your own roof.
Community solar is a model that lets you get the benefits (both economic and environmental) of solar panels, without actually installing them on your roof. The whole concept, said Nick Baudouin, co-founder of community solar software company PowerMarket, is "solar for all."
"It's for everyone, not just everyone who can check off a lot of boxes," like previous requirements of home ownership, an in-the-thousands installation payment, a credit check and so on, he said. "I live in a city, in an apartment, and clearly I can’t put solar on my roof, but I can still be part of solar and be part of the sharing economy."
Read the full article here: https://www.metro.us/news/the-big-stories/community-solar-renewable-energy-to-everyone
A new online platform from a Brooklyn-based startup is looking to offer Westchester customers a chance at tapping into power produced by community solar projects, which are new to New York but expected to grow quickly. The PowerMarket, which launched in February, essentially creates a marketplace for people interested in buying the solar power produced by community solar arrays.
The PowerMarket will provide southern New York businesses and homeowners the ability to participate in community solar for the first time, all while providing clean, locally sourced electricity to their community.
BROOKLYN, New York - The PowerMarket, a platform and marketplace that allows households in the Greater New York City Area to participate in local community solar projects, announces the first ever project to go live in ConEdison service territory. Community solar allows individuals and businesses the ability to share in the benefits of solar with no upfront cost and without installing panels on their roof.
Over thirty households in Westchester have already signed up. "Through the PowerMarket, people save money on their monthly electricity bill while supporting renewable energy development in their communities," says Eric Dahnke, CEO and Founder of the PowerMarket. Customers can expect to see the benefits of participation in the project in March 2017.
The PowerMarket is a product from ProjectEconomics Inc, a community solar solution provider and member of ACRE at the Urban Future Lab (UFL) at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. ACRE is New York City’s business incubator for smart cities, smart grid, and clean energy. UFL hosts several programs focused on educational, policy, and market solutions to the issues of sustainability.
"Initiatives such as the PowerMarket will help New York continue to be a place for pioneering energy solutions and a leader in the clean energy sector," said Pat Sapinsley, managing director of cleantech initiatives at the UFL. "The optimization of renewable energy distribution systems such as community solar will help reduce dependence on fossil fuels, remove barriers to renewable energy support and allow all individuals access to clean and local solar power.
The PowerMarket allows households and business to participate in local community solar projects. We provide customer acquisition, management and billing solutions for solar developers, community groups, and municipalities looking to develop community solar projects in their communities. The PowerMarket is a product of ProjectEconmics Inc, a provider of community solar solutions. They are based out of ACRE at the Urban Future Lab.