Con Edison customers generating 100 MW of solar power

7. New York (147.4 MW)

Con Edison customers now generate more than 100 MW of clean, renewable power with solar panels on roofs in New York City and Westchester County.

Customers in the five boroughs and Westchester have completed 8,415 solar power projects atop houses, condo buildings, skyscrapers and expansive warehouses, generating 105.4 MW, enough to power about 16,000 homes annually.

With Earth Day 2016 approaching this week, it's an accomplishment worth noting for Con Edison customers, the utility and public-sector partners that have worked to create a vibrant solar market in the New York City area.

As recently as the end of 2010, the amount of solar generation in New York City and Westchester was only 8.5 MW. The pace has accelerated dramatically since then and customers installed nearly 35 MW of production in 2015 alone.

George and John Utley, the brothers who own manufacturing company Utley's Inc. in Woodside, Queens, are among those using the sun's rays to produce electricity. They placed 80 panels that produce 20 kilowatts atop their factory.

The business was paying up to $10,000 a month for electricity during the summer months. John Utley said the panels went into service last November and he is eager to see how much money they cut off the company's electric bill during the summer of 2016.

Utley's, founded in 1945, makes prototype containers for the cosmetics and liquor industries. Clients such as Estee Lauder, Elizabeth Arden and Cuisinart hire Utley's to make prototype containers and then decide whether they want to have the containers manufactured on a large scale, filled with product and displayed on store shelves.

John Utley said he placed a 10-kW system on his home in New Jersey in 2007, reducing his monthly electric cost by as much as $200 a month, and has since added a five-kW array to his garage.

Seeing the savings he and his brother decided to place panels on their business. The Utleys took advantage of $22,000 in incentives from the New York State Energy Research Development Authority and expect a return on their investment in six years.

Con Edison tries to make the interconnection process as easy and quick as possible for customers who choose solar. The company does not require an engineering review for systems under 25 kW.

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