Big Apple to get big multi-family solar

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Manhattan’s StuyTown, consisting of 11,250 apartments of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, will sport the largest collection of PV installations for a private multi-family development in the United States. The arrays on 56 buildings will total 3.8 megawatts (MW), covering 22 acres of roof area that will provide the equivalent electricity consumption for over 1,000 apartments.

A feature of StuyTown is that the buildings are master metered as opposed to individual meters for apartments and common areas. This enables maximum deployment of solar instead of a situation where the effective limitation for an installation in a multi-metered building would be for the common area only. StuyTown’s management and ownership, Ivanhoé Cambridge and Blackstone have been aggressive in employing a variety of energy efficiency measures and retrofits to control electricity consumption and costs.

Other green measures include building sited composting and water efficiency. These measures enabled StuyTown to attain ENERGY STAR building certification, the first New York City multi-family buildings to achieve this status.

The cost of the installation is $12.4 million dollars, coming out to about $3.26/watt. This is not a bad price for installations fixed on top of 15 floor buildings on one of the most expensive and regulated cities in the U.S. Fifteen floor buildings in Manhattan would normally suffer from shadowing by real skyscrapers, but StuyTown’s development is fortunately set far enough away from such taller structures.

The PV project is expected to be completed in 2019 and should result in a 6% reduction of energy costs, including the common areas. Onyx Renewable Partners is the project developer. The 3.8 MW addition will be about twice Manhattan’s present solar capacity, and would add about 4% to New York City’s PV portfolio.