Con Edison customers throughout New York have been going solar at a rapid rate in recent years. Of course, this is largely due to lower costs for solar installations and a wider availability of incentives & rebates for solar adopters, but a series of upgrades to Con Edison distribution equipment a number of years ago have also played a significant role in the increased solar uptake among ConEd customers.
Other efforts to expand solar deployment among Con Edison customers have included the elimination of engineering reviews for most residential solar projects, and the expedition of solar projects up to 300 kW, easing the approval process.
The New York City Solar Map
Con Edison also contributed to the creation of the NYC Solar Map. This is an online tool which allows users to view solar potential, installation costs, and availability of rebates for any building in New York City. In addition, the map displays solar statistics for the entire state, including:
Total Installed Solar Power Generation Capacity (in Megawatts)
Status of Solar Projects: Completed & In Progress
Local Cost of Solar ($/Watt) vs. State Average
Installed Solar Power Generation Capacity by Sector (in Megawatts)
Completed Solar Installations by Sector
Local Cost of Solar ($/Watt) by Sector
The interactive map also displays a range of solar statistics and can be tweaked to suit the user’s needs.
Con Edison Solar Growth in New York
These efforts from ConEd have driven up the number of solar installations among the utility’s customers across NYC, Long Island, Westchester, and the entirety of New York State. Thanks to the availability of government incentives, going solar has become increasingly affordable for both residential and commercial energy customers, while increased solar deployment also benefits Con Edison directly—reducing the stress on the energy grid at peak times. This creates a positive feedback loop, allowing Con Edison to hand the benefit back to NY energy customers in the form of safe, reliable electric service.
Con Edison’s Upgraded Network Protectors
One technological upgrade which allowed Con Edison to further boost solar PV deployment in New York was the application of smart grid technology. The integration of smart grid technology a number of years ago has allowed for the interconnection of some of the largest solar projects in NY history.
Upgrades to network protectors have allowed for large net-metered projects to operate efficiently by feeding power from the solar panels into the Con Edison grid. When first presented with the challenge of interconnection for large PV projects, Con Edison engineers worked on developing a controls, data acquisition, and communications scheme which would allow the network protectors to function as desired for these larger projects.
Prior to these upgrades, network protectors with conventional settings would open in response to a particularly large flow of electricity into the grid, blacking out the customer. With the relays on network protectors brought about by these upgrades, the protectors can remain closed for large flows of power into the grid, while also being capable of opening if an actual fault is detected.
This relay approach also allows ConEd control room operators to monitor solar panel operations, isolating feeders remotely if necessary. For utility planners, the controls provide an important load growth forecasting and system planning tool. This improved engineering setup has facilitated the interconnection of solar PV installations at manufacturing plants in Queens, warehouses in the Bronx, and a host of other locations statewide.
The Importance of Isolating Feeders
Through its work on the interconnection of PV systems, Con Edison came to understand the importance of managing two-way flow on the energy grid. Smart switching installations and operations are now commonplace, involving the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) group, control room operators and field groups. Control room operators are trained on the potential of expediting feeder scheduling and the manner in which feeders can be isolated remotely from the control room. Prior to these advances, the utility would send a field worker out if a network protector didn’t open. Now, operators have increased visibility and control over what is happening.
The commitment of utilities such as Con Edison to technological advancements has led to the accelerated development of solar in New York City. With these smart grid improvements such as those outlined above, and the continued availability of solar incentives, the trend of solar growth in NY looks set to continue well into the future.
If you’re interested in developing your own New York solar project then get in touch with YSG Solar today. YSG has over ten years of experience in the solar industry, developing both small and large-scale projects across the state of New York and beyond. Call the office at 212.389.9215 or send us an email to learn how much you could save with solar.
YSG Solar is a project development company responsible for commoditizing energy infrastructure projects. We work with long-term owners and operators to provide clean energy assets with stable, predictable cash flows. YSG's market focus is distributed generation and utility-scale projects located within North America.