Comunity Solar - PV for All - GigaWatts Across America.  

Dec 5, 2015

New Community Solar laws enable public buildings to become the biggest supplier of Community Solar in the US, without spending a single penny of taxpayers money!  No Public Building Stock is more suited for Community Solar's first show piece than the 1,200 plus NYC Schools and 4,000 NYC Owned properties.

The SCA and DDC have the savvy to evaluate, select and oversee third party solar providers buildouts, for the DOE and NYC gov't.   DOE's schools typically have 25,000 to 50,000 sf roof tops with half the area or more available for PV arrays, typically far above all neighbors, and every solar provider would willingly install and run the PV ARRAYS AT NO COST just for the right to the tax credits and Green Energy to resell.

The potential is enormous. Up to 200 kw per building (Check out roof top PV potential for any building in NYC at , app. 125 MW total from the entire DOE building portfolio.  Power flowing into community grids from a thousand points, relieving main feeders and long distance transmission lines, especially during the grids most stressful summer loads. PLUS every school would become a self powered emergency center in times of disaster. 

All that is required is LEADERSHIP. From those we elect to office, and those they appoint to lead our Public Agencies.

No special construction is necessary. School basements (when not in shoreside flood zones) have vast under utilized areas for inverters, switches, meters. Main feeders can be run up outsides of buildings, tucked inconspicuously in a courtyard corner along side the chimney. Ballasted PV systems eliminate the need for roof penetrations for connecting racks, as well as the racks themselves, and as most school roofs were designed for "ballasted roofing systems" (gravel on 6 layer tar roofs) and now receive 3 - 4 layer membrane roofs without ballast, weight is not even an issue. 

After the DOE, SCA and Mayors office show the way to leverage municipal building portfolios NYC's DDC can expand the program to the 4,000 more varied city owned buildings, easily bringing the total potential municipal PV to 250 MW, 1/4 GW (1/4 the output of either Nuke at Indian Point). Without spending a penny, NYC will cut carbon production by 9 million tons a year, equal to taking 1.2 of the 1.8 million registered cars in NYC off the road!

This is also the most economically efficient method to solarize public buildings which pay less for electricity than residential users. Schools either get discounted energy, or are such large electrical users that they benefit from lower rates afforded big users as do all public buildings. These lower rates make payback from school and public building owned PV much longer, and far less economically justifiable.

Having third party providers build and run PV systems, selling electricity to homeowners to offset their very high electric rates, at no cost to NYC Gov’t and the Schools, ensures the billions earmarked for improving the schools so they can better educate our children is devoted to only that, and that our taxes go to needed infrastructure and social services.

Following are info sources used to fact check the above:

Community Solar Initiatives:

NYC Community Solar Providers: who already have a beta program kicking off

Residential Elec Rates:

Commercial Elec Rates:

 National Residential vs Commercial Electrical Rates:

El Paso School Elec Rate Discount:

Kentucky School Elec Rate Discount:

Guides for Solarizing Schools:

While many good efforts have been made at guides for Solarizing Schools, none cut to the chase, that the most economic (and free to build) PV for schools, with the greatest benefit to society, is simply Community Solar. Too often they digress into barely related side topics, solar thermal, spending millions to make rooftops handicapped accessible with elevators to allow students to experience the PV arrays, community outreach and engagement and other dead ends that simply doom the economic feasibility, if not just confuse those trying to get PV’s on their schools. I’m hoping on the heels of NYS’s ground breaking Community Solar Legislation that NYC and NYS will refocus their guides to highlight Community Solar, and that other states will follow NYS’s lead. 

Following are info sources used to fact check the above:

National:  (The most comprehensive and understandable building solar guide I have seen in 30 years!)

Keywords:  Community Solar school educational public buildings shared solar  PV ARRAYS tax credits Green Energy  resell renewable energy  kw roof top PV MW Ballasted PV DOE SCA municipal building NYC DDC carbon production million tons payback third party providers selling electricity schools PV sustainability photovoltaics