Con Edison is marking a 250-megawatt (MW) milestone in solar energy production thanks to more than 26,000 New York City and Westchester County homeowners and businesses with panel installations.
Another 3,300 customers have 100 MW of solar projects in progress. Residential customers account for more than 90 percent of the projects and 50 percent of the overall capacity.
“When the first solar panels were installed in Westchester in 2001, the dynamic between the utility and the customer changed forever. It required a new business model and spurred ideas that informed the grid of future,” said Matthew Ketschke, senior vice president of Customer Energy Solutions. “Solar technology allowed us to redefine our relationship with customers, reconfigure our energy delivery system, and rethink ways to improve reliability, affordability, and sustainability.”
The change is comprehensive. It includes continued upgrades to infrastructure to create a smarter, modernized grid able to accommodate a two-way flow of electricity. The company continues its work with state and local agencies, partners, and solar installers to standardize regulations and policies. The company also provides customers with information to help them decide whether solar energy is right for them.
The tipping point for solar adoption occurred in early 2013. Since then the amount of solar capacity increased 600 percent from 34 MW to 250 MW.
What’s Next in Solar
Solar installations, especially those that include battery storage, help make the grid more efficient. Batteries allow excess energy produced by solar panels to be stored and used when energy demand is high. That reduces the need for power from less environmentally friendly generation sources during times of peak demand. That makes the grid more efficient and increases the return on investment for the customer.
Con Edison’s Shared Solar program will make it possible for more customers to participate in solar energy. The company plans to install panels on the roofs of its buildings and make the power available to low-income customers.
The company also supports utility ownership of large-scale renewable generation, which could be less costly for customers since utilities can finance and operate these projects less expensively than private developers.
Through its Clean Energy Businesses, Con Edison, Inc. is one of the largest solar providers in North America with 2,600 MW of renewable (solar and wind) assets in 17 states. Con Edison’s assets avoid 5.4 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.