Crystal Window & Door Systems in Flushing is helping to reduce its carbon footprint in New York City with newly installed solar panels on its rooftop.
The production facility, located at 31-10 Whitestone Expy., has completed the installation of a large new almost one-megawatt solar electricity generation system that includes over 2,300 solar panels. The solar panels are expected to generate nearly 1 million kilowatt hours (kWh) annually, offsetting about 35% of the manufacturer’s overall electricity needs.
The Crystal system is one of the larger systems in Queens and New York City.
“Our New York headquarters and factory building has over 100,000 square feet of unshaded usable roof space, so solar panels just made sense,” said Thomas Chen, chairman and founder of Crystal Windows. “The new solar electricity generation system is a perfect complement to Crystal’s emphasis on product energy efficiency. Just as we are committed to providing state-of-the-art energy-efficient products for home and building owners, we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint here in New York City and making our production facility as energy efficient as possible.”
Adding to the environmental benefit, Crystal also utilizes sustainable hydro-power for much of its electricity supply.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), replacing 1 million kWh annually with solar energy eliminates over 1.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide per year from the atmosphere. That is the approximate equivalent of eliminating the greenhouse gas emissions from over 750,000 pounds of coal burned per year or annually removing 154 passenger vehicles from the road or by replacing 26,860 incandescent lamps with LEDs.
Crystal partnered on a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Amergy Solar, a New York-New Jersey regional provider of solar energy generation systems for commercial and residential properties. With a PPA, the solar system provider owns and maintains the solar generation equipment installed on the customer’s premises while the customer simply purchases the electricity generated at a significant discount over rates from the local utility. PPAs are generally transferrable upon resale to new building owners, thus enhancing a property’s value.
Crystal’s solar energy generation system was several months in design and construction. To determine the appropriate scale of the system, Crystal’s energy usage patterns, available roof space and roof structures were reviewed. Then the interface between Crystal’s existing electric system within the building and Con Edison’s electricity distribution system was upgraded, the roof surface was renovated, permits for the installation were secured, and required inspections were completed.
A custom racking and bedding system was designed and fabricated for Crystal’s solar panels, with a 10-degree slope and a non-roof-penetrating connection system. The entire system consists of 2,320 solar panels, associated racks and 18 electrical power inverters.
“Ultimately our new solar generation system will offset about 35% of Crystal’s total electricity usage,” Chen said. “We will purchase that electricity generated by the solar system on our factory rooftop from Amergy, thereby saving with lower electricity rates. This was a great decision for our operations, a great way to help New York City and New York state achieve their greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and a great way to make the environment greener for everyone.”