Green in Queens: Private Solar Array Goes Live

East, Newsletter
Friday, March 11, 2011
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Panels were installed by National Grid Energy Management working with Solar Energy Systems. (Courtesy Davis & Warshow)

One of the city’s largest private solar power installations promises to produce 270,000 kWh of clean energy annually, eliminating about 235,000 pounds of carbon dioxide pollution each year. The new solar array is part of an initiative by employee-owned kitchen and bath distributor Davis & Warshow to green its Queens headquarters. The installation includes 1,038 panels affixed to the rooftops of three buildings in the company’s 250,000-square-foot complex on Maspeth Creek. Surrounded by low-rise buildings with direct sunlight exposure from the south, the site is an ideal one for an urban installation on the East Coast.

Financing for the project came from Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds, which Davis & Warshow obtained through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). These included NYSERDA incentives worth $453,606, a one-time treasury grant of $393,650, and an annual, four-year property tax abatement of $75,123. The company estimates it will recoup the system’s $900,000 cost in three to four years.

Since Davis & Warshow introduced a “Practically Green” strategy to become more eco-friendly two years ago, it has switched its seven showrooms and eight warehouses over to low-flow fixtures, becoming a testing ground for some of its own merchandise. It has also encouraged employees to carpool and banned bottled water, replacing it with a filtered water system. Though the solar array will have the most significant impact on the company’s carbon footprint—satisfying more than a third of its annual energy consumption—it hopes to be a benchmark for other private green initiatives, large or small. As the Bloomberg Administration’s Green Economy Plan moves ahead with its own projects, the new installation suggests that the private sector has an equally important role in bringing solar power to the city’s rooftops.

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