NYC grocer Krasdale Foods becomes first community solar provider in the Bronx


A 115-year-old New York City grocery distributor that hands out free turkeys in low-income neighborhoods on Thanksgiving, has taken its community partnership role seriously.

Now Krasdale Foods, which distributes food under the CTown and Bravo supermarket brands in the city’s five boroughs, has made 1.62 MW of clean power of a 2.68 MW warehouse rooftop solar facility available to 300 low- and moderate-income Bronx residents under a community solar program.

Managed by MaxSolar and installed by PowerFlex, an EDF Renewables company, the companies and site host held a site visit to the rooftop generating facility at its Hunt’s Point, Bronx distribution facility on June 14, attended by pv magazine USA.

A Jinko 400 W module stands next to Krasdale Foods’ ribbon-cutting event in Hunt’s Point, The Bronx, on June 13, 2023.

Image: Michael Schoeck, pv magazine USA

Under an export-only framework in utility Consolidated Edison’s grid, Krasdale’s solar facility provides 3.4 million kWh of clean energy per year to local residents. As of this week, Lucie Dupas, chief delivery officer at PowerFlex, said the project was fully subscribed to New York City residents.

Construction of the facility’s 6,700 JinkoSolar 400 watt panels took about nine months, beginning in September 2021, with PowerFlex hiring about 25 local construction workers during peak construction, Dupas said.

Dupas and other PowerFlex team members said the rooftop system used Solectria PVI 60TL three-phase inverters and PanelClaw mounting hardware. The site host and system operator are able to monitor the system’s output using AlsoEnergy monitoring software.

MaxSolar is providing operations and maintenance support for the project and also handled subscription management.

Howie Jacobs, chief legal officer of Krasdale Foods, said prior to construction, the site owner had to install a new roof using contractor CentiMark to deploy a new commercial rooftop to support the layout of 6,700 panels.

Gus Lebiak, president and chief operating officer of Krasdale Foods, told pv magazine USA that in addition to having rooftop solar on its White Plains, N.Y., office building, the Bronx, N.Y. grocery distribution company also uses 35 electric forklifts and 145 battery-powered pallet jacks. Lebiak said this electric fleet was the reason the company needed to procure more than 1 MW of the new rooftop solar system’s power for its own facility management.

Lebiak said the seven-acre warehouse facility is a dry goods distribution facility, that ordinarily would not have required a large power load, but its goal of becoming more electrified warranted the higher power source from on-site solar. Over the coming years, Lebiak said the grocer would also look to add more electric trucks and deploy battery energy storage systems at the Hunt’s Point site.

David Sandbank, vice president, distributed energy resources at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), said under Con Edison’s export-only framework, at least 60% of the community solar’s power output must be made available to the local community, while 40% of the power capacity would be used by the anchor tenant.

NYSERDA awarded $1.3 million from the state’s NY-Sun program’s MW Block Program, which incentivizes new commercial and residential solar installations, to the Krasdale Foods community solar project. According to its website, Con Edison non-residential users have now deployed over 25 MW of systems for projects generating in excess of 1 MW per system.

Krasdale Foods first started looking at clean energy systems about seven years ago, Lebiak said, while 2021 is when the citywide food distributor turned to PowerFlex to begin working on its rooftop facility that would power its entire distribution facility and provide power to local residents.

Vanessa Gibson, the Bronx Borough President, commended Krasdale on going the next step forward in sustainability after being a dependable community partner for over one century, providing food to residents in underserved communities across New York City.

“Our residents have been denied clean air and lack of energy efficiency. Now we have access to the largest clean energy project in New York City,” Gibson said. “These public-private partnerships will last for generations.”

Shakira Wilson, vice president of planning at Con Edison, called the event a “joyous occasion to celebrate the largest solar project in the Bronx.” To date, the local utility has more than 517 MW of distributed generation projects located across the city’s grid, she said.

Based in White Plains, N.Y., Krasdale Foods was formed in 1908 as A. Krasne Inc., by Abraham Krasne. In 1972, the company rebranded as Krasdale Foods and moved into the Hunt’s Point distribution center as the first anchor tenant of the massive 60-acre South Bronx distribution hub which houses the Fulton Street Seafood Market, Anheuser-Busch, and other food and beverage institutions.

Krasdale distributes food and consumer goods to more than 280 supermarkets in New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Florida under the CTown, Bravo, Aim, Market Fresh, Shop Smart Food Markets and Stop 1 Food Mart brand names. The Hunt’s Point distribution facility sees up to 45 inbound trailers and up to 80 outbound tractor trailer trucks enter and leave its facility each day, Lebiak said.

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