New York home and business owners were installing solar at the same rapid pace they were in other parts of the country with good incentives in the fall of 2012. But Hurricane Sandy has changed the theme of the solar installations home and business owners have made since.
Hurricane Sandy knocked out power in Manhattan, the other four Burroughs of New York City and large territories outside of the city last fall. People went without electricity for weeks and, in some extreme cases, more than a month.
The storm highlighted two things about solar – One: It’s an amazing, plentiful, free and easily accessible source of power. Solar manufacturers donated solar panels and nonprofits wheeled in portable solar generators to neighborhoods in need.
Two: If solar is dependent on the grid it does no good in an emergency. The New York Times reported after the storm about dozens of home and business owners who were disappointed that their grid-tied solar arrays were as useful as paperweights in a power outage.
Since then, more companies have been incorporating battery back up systems and sophisticated inverters that will allow buildings to use the electricity their solar arrays generate even when the power grid quits working.
Ross Solar Group, which installs panels primarily along the East Coast, is one of those companies.
Ross announced this week that it installed a solar array on the roof of a 25,000-square-foot warehouse for Carter, Milchman & Franks in Long Island. The 100-kilowatt solar system is expected to generate all of the electricity the facility needs. But the distinguishing factor in the system is a substantial battery bank that will provide backup power in the event of a black out.
CMF was looking for a backup system that would allow the company to continue doing business during power outages. It worked out that solar was the most economical and sensible way for the company to cover it’s backup power needs.
"In addition to being the cleanest and most reliable solution, the cost of the electric service modification, as well as the cost of the equipment itself was greatly mitigated by the incentives that are available for solar projects," said Robert Kline, Ross’ director of commercial sales