NEW YORK – Big Geyser, a Con Edison customer in Maspeth, Queens, was about to install an energy–saving white roof and solar panels on its warehouse building when Hurricane Sandy struck.
Sandy’s fierce winds peeled back a swath of the roof, delaying the improvement project. By the time the company and its employees recovered, autumn’s chill had arrived and it was too cold to apply the white epoxy roof coating. The coating needs moderate temperatures to cure properly.
But in the spring, Big Geyser – a distributor of non–alcoholic beverages – turned its roof white. White roofs absorb less heat than traditional dark roofs. That means less need for air conditioning during hot New York summers.
Then came the solar panels – an array large enough to generate 408 kilowatts of direct current power. Big Geyser, which chose Island Park–based EmPower Solar as its installer, is saving $8,000 a month on electricity by using the power of the sun.
“Big Geyser showed the resilience and determination typical of New Yorkers by going ahead with its white roof and solar panels after Hurricane Sandy struck,” said Robert Schimmenti, Con Edison’s vice president, Engineering and Planning. “Now, Big Geyser is getting the benefit of lower electric bills while also helping to keep polluting emissions out of the air.”
“Sandy posed tremendous challenges, but we were determined that even a storm that destructive would not stop us from investing in our white roof and solar panels,” said Rich Richer, Big Geyser’s chief financial officer. “We knew these energy–saving measures would be good for our business and the environment.”
With the electricity savings, depreciation, and government incentives and tax breaks Big Geyser got for installing its photovoltaic panels, the company expects to get a full return on its investment in less than five years.
Con Edison supports policies that encourage the development of solar energy while also protecting ratepayers from increases. The company has a website, http://www.coned.com/dg/solarenergy/, that explains the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy, the installation process and net metering.
Con Edison customers in New York City and Westchester County, N.Y. have completed more than 1,500 solar projects, producing 27.32 megawatts of power.
Here’s a breakdown by area:
About 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 $12 billion in annual revenues and $42 billion in assets. The utility provides electric, gas and steam service to more than 3 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, N.Y. For more information, visitwww.conEd.com, our green site, www.coned.com/thepowerofgreen, or Facebook at Power of Green.