Solar Pioneers of Central Harlem

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Solar Pioneers of Central Harlem


Yvette and Adrian live in a modernly renovated townhouse in central Harlem, inconspicuously located on 112th st near Morningside Park. They took a dilapidated property and turned it into a green  building that is expertly designed to be energy efficient. The architect they hired wisely included solar panels in the design!

This project was completed in 2009, which makes them pioneers in the neighborhood for bringing 3.2 kw of solar to their rooftop. The installer they used, called Tristate solar,  was hired by their architect.

We met with Adrian and Yvette to talk about their experience and see how it fits into our overall initiative to bring more solar to rooftops in NYC.

Yvette:  As far as we knew when we were installing, we were the only ones that we knew of in the area, so we were pretty much pioneers.

Silvia: I definitely commend you guys for that.

Yvette: Oh thank you!  Yeah, it was definitely part of the premise of sort of being a green house and we always wanted to.

Adrian: Yeah the house is also designed to have cross ventilation. You know there is a window and for each there is a window on the other side. And also, it adds a lot of light so that you don’t use artificial light.

Screenshot 2016-04-25 11.52.02 (1)Yvette and Adrian were clearly very motivated to get the solar panels on their roof, but now that they have been installed they hardly pay mind to them. The system silently produces energy for them, meanwhile they said that they have no idea how much and what that is saving them on their electricity bill. Yvette said, “It would be great to have someone demystify that process. For us it’s just the ConEd man that goes down there, reads something, goes, leaves.” They expressed that they are aware of some reduction “But it would be nice to drill down on the numbers and you know see this is really what it meant for you and this is what your investment actually gave you. That would be awesome to get that.” Yvette said. This is exactly the type of service that Here Comes Solar provides at no cost to the program’s participants. For homeowners interested in going solar, estimates of costs and savings reassure them that it would be a good investment. For Yvette and Adrian, we were able to show their return on investment.

Going solar doesn’t have to be intimidating when connected to the right people and provided with the right information. Adrian and Yvette were able to have their architect help them through the process and take care of the paperwork. Without that help Yvette expressed that “We would have never been able to venture, I mean we loved it as an idea but I don’t think we would have persevered and been able to get connected to the right people.”

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After investigating further we were able to determine that, even though they went in blind,  they have seen some savings. We estimate that they offset about a quarter of their usage. You can see from the graph that they still use a lot of electricity in the summer months, probably because of air conditioning. Over the past 7 years they have saved $6, 164.83 on their electricity bills.  Including tax credits and rebates, they have almost completely payed for the system. They payed about 30 grand which was actually a reasonable price considering that that’s $9.50 per watt.

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