Log In
Category Archives:

Brilliant Blog

What’s So Fun About Batteries?!

Chapter I. Gigawhat?

If you don’t follow energy or environmental news closely, you might be surprised by the breathless enthusiasm surrounding batteries these days. No offense to your vintage Furby, but we’re not talking about AAs – or even the high-tech lithium-ion battery in your smartphone – but a diverse cast of energy storage technologies,1 built at every scale, from small systems in homes and businesses to football field-sized batteries in the Australian desert.

But first, let’s define some essential terms. Note that in the energy sector, “reliability” and “resilience” have different, very specific meanings. Feel free to skim this section and return later as necessary.

        • Energy Storage – Technology that stores potential energy for later use. The most common of these is the electrochemical battery, which itself comes in various forms. Other energy storage technologies include pumped hydropower, compressed air, thermal storage, and many more.
        • Battery – A device that stores energy in one or more electrochemical cells, and discharges it in the form of electrons flowing from its negative terminal, or anode. Batteries can be single-use (e.g. alkaline) or rechargeable (e.g. lithium-ion, lead-acid, etc.). Of course, the larger-scale applications we’ll be discussing on this blog use only rechargeable batteries.
        • Reliability – A power system’s ability to maintain consistent electrical service. This system could be anything from a multi-state section of the electric grid to a tiny off-grid solar system. The fewer interruptions a system experiences, the more “reliable” it is.
        • Resilience – A power system’s ability to quickly and effectively bounce back from a service interruption. A section of the grid is “resilient” if it can quickly restore power after a blackout. A home, apartment building, or community center is “resilient” if it can provide its own power during a grid blackout, such as from a solar + storage system.
        • Solar + Storage (AKA Resilient Solar) – Shorthand for a paired solar photovoltaic (PV) and energy storage system. Most solar systems can operate during blackouts only if they are paired with energy storage. Therefore, in order to be considered “Resilient Solar,” a system must include energy storage.2


Congratulations! You now know more about energy storage than 99% of Americans. However, you might still be wondering what exactly is so exciting about batteries.

Energy storage is revolutionizing the way energy is produced, delivered, consumed, and valued. If managed properly, this revolution will fundamentally transform the energy sector in five ways. The energy storage revolution will:

        1. Finally enable the transition to a majority-renewables grid;
        2. Abandon today’s boring, antiquated, mostly uni-directional grid for the dynamic grid of the future;
        3. Grant individuals unprecedented control over their energy profiles;
        4. Electrify the transportation sector; and
        5. Vastly improve resilience during blackouts.


That’s a lot to take in, and far too much to dig into in one blog post. Fear not – stay tuned right here for new posts that will treat these impacts with the time and respect they deserve.
Enough with all this blather. How will batteries affect NYC?
To date, New Yorkers haven’t seen many cutting-edge energy storage systems installed. That’s about to change, thanks to Governor Cuomo’s new energy storage commitment – the country’s most ambitious at a whopping 1.5 gigawatts by 2025.3 In terms of peak power output, that’s the equivalent of over 4.3 million solar panels.4

This commitment also aims to employ 30,000 New Yorkers, and is essential to New York’s twin goals of a 50% renewable grid by 2030 and an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Suffice it to say that New York is leading the way on energy storage and renewable energy – or, rather, New York will lead the way. First comes the hard work of getting these technologies deployed at scale. That’s where you come in.

In next week’s chapter, we’ll discuss how you can become the proud guardian of your very own resilient power system.

P.S. Want to stay hip to the latest in Solar + Storage? Keep an eye on our Instagram, @ResilientNYC.



Here Comes Community Solar!

It’s finally here, the dream of solar enthusiasts all over the city: solar for apartments. For years, while single-family homeowners have been installing solar right and left,  New Yorkers have clamored for solar that fits the city lifestyle where most people don’t own their apartments, let alone the roof several floors above them.  So New York State made it possible to participate in what’s called “Community Shared Solar”, where one large array - in a field or on a warehouse roof - can send solar credits to anyone in the same utility zone. After months of planning and building, for the first time, this is possible in New York City, and you can join now.

Solar 2

The first ever community solar arrays in New York City were built this winter on two warehouses in East New York and will be switched on within the next few weeks.

Together, these two sites hold more than 3,000 solar panels, producing over a megawatt of solar power. That’s enough to offset over 300 apartments… and almost anyone can sign up.

If you haven’t been able to go solar because you rent, your roof is too small, you don’t have the money to spend on a big project, or any other reason, this is a solution.

Community Solar is, at its core, a simple process:


Image credit: New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

When you sign up through the Here Comes Solar website, we’ll reach out to answer any questions and review your Con Edison bill to confirm you are eligible to participate. Then we’ll transfer you to Daroga Power, the owner of the Community Solar array. You’ll get a 12-month contract that you can renew for as many years as you like, and Daroga Power will allocate solar credits from the Community Solar array toward reducing your electricity bill. Each month, Daroga will charge you for 90% of the value of the credits you receive on your bill, so you’re always saving money from day one. 

Join us in accelerating New York City’s solar revolution. Here Comes Community Solar!

How Much Space Is Needed For Solar?

Making Rowhouses Work brooklyn brownstone

Rowhouse-style buildings make up a quarter of New York City’s residential properties and can be great candidates for solar. But, by nature (typically located on lot sizes no greater than 25 feet), they have small roofs, and therefore face particular challenges. Fire regulations, such as mandatory 6-foot paths, eat up a large percentage of prime solar panel real estate. And then there’s cost--typically, the smaller the system, the higher the install-cost per panel. So how do people do it? How much space is really needed for solar?

First, it’s important to estimate your roof’s solar potential in order to get a sense of the solar capacity. Enter your address into the New York Solar Map for an initial scan of your roof's solar potential.

Offset just a portion of your usage. Rowhouses can offset a substantial portion of their electrical usage, and with NYC's high cost of electricity, even a small array can save you a lot of money. A modest, 5kW system can offset the usage of an average New York City apartment unit. Multi-family rowhouses often have a choice of offsetting all of one apartment, some of all the apartments, or just the common areas.

Install solar canopies. Solar Canopies, an innovative new design that elevates the solar array to at least 9 feet above the roof, creatively maximize roof space so a more substantial array can fit, as well as firepaths. This is a great way to increase system size on a small roof!

Group purchasing. Team up with people in your neighborhood and request a quote from a solar installer for multiple projects at once. This is a good way to lock in lower prices. Ask someone from Here Comes Solar to connect you with potential group purchasing projects.

Multifamily Cooperatives and Rental Properties

Larger buildings with more roof space are often attractive options for solar. Projects of this scale generally cost less per panel installed, and allow for more system design possibilities. While in many cases a solar array will still not produce enough solar to offset the entire building’s usage, it can offset the common areas or offset a portion of individual units’ usage, or both. To learn more about options for multi-family buildings, reach out to an expert at Here Comes Solar.

Solar Tariff Blues and Confusion – What it Really Means for American Solar

Earlier this week the Trump Administration announced that it was levying a tariff (tax) on all imported solar panels. This tax was supposedly levied to protect American manufacturing jobs, but in reality there are very few USA solar manufacturing jobs to protect. Less than 2% of American solar jobs are in solar panel or cell manufacturing, and the tariff will marginally increase the cost of solar to consumers and therefore slow the growth of more robust sectors of the USA solar industry, which currently employs more than 260,000 Americans. Those of you reading the headlines may be wondering “how big will the impact be?” or “will this impact my ability to save money with solar?” Read on for answers to these questions and to learn more about the tariff and what it really means for our domestic solar industry, and for all of us as potential consumers of clean affordable solar energy.

Read more +

Introducing Solar Uptown Now

This summer and fall Solar One is continuing its work with WEACT for Environmental Justice and the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) advancing solar adoption among affordable co-ops and buildings throughout Northern Manhattan. The campaign, which received a grant from the City's Solarize NYC program, is called Solar Uptown Now. Through the group purchasing campaign, the partners hope to make affordable clean energy available to buildings in Harlem and Washington Heights; neighborhoods that have a high density of affordable housing where working families could really benefit from utility bill savings. We are organizing a group of buildings to install solar at the same time and negotiate group discounted pricing from a qualified local solar company.

Through the campaign, any building from Harlem through Inwood is eligible to receive a free solar savings analysis and consultation from Solar One, and a no-obligation bid from the selected solar company. The campaign runs through February 2018, so act now to secure your free technical assistance and group discount!


Are you interested in solar for your building? Complete the survey to get started or attend one of our upcoming workshops.

Page 1 of 6123...Last »

Log In

- Enter Your Location -
- or -
Here Comes Solar NYC
Skip to toolbar