Posts Tagged ‘Photovoltaic’

Distributed Generation

August 25, 2014

sketch: S Behar & M Laurooftop application single inverter

Grace Church, 2015 Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award

February 28, 2014

26BLOCKSspan-articleLarge110302-grace-church-solar-plan-sk-1-w-invesun-230-41point9-kw-rotated-view1110302 Grace Church Solar Section SK-2 w Invesun 230 41point9 kW* Renovation of Grace Church in Brooklyn Heights as covered in New York Times. BLuHR Architects. MeXSI Inc, Energy Analyst.

Harbor in a storm

September 13, 2013

130913 Aerial 20130908130913 View 2 20130908130913 View 3 20130908130913 View 4 20130908

PV powered Advertising

July 11, 2013

Polaris cropped

Design: Salvador Behar Architects

Solar Irradiance Map

October 30, 2011


PV Incentives

September 25, 2011

NYSERDA offers photovoltaic system rebates at $1.75 per watt DC.

The Federal tax rebate is 30% of installation price. It requires a one-page form that attaches to your Federal return. New York State residents are offered a NYS personal income tax credit equal to 25% of the total installation and labor costs, with a maximum credit of $5,000., for systems up to 10 kW.

NYC has additional incentives.


Why we crave creativity but reject creative ideas.


August 12, 2011

The plan above depicts our project for a 41 kW PV installation at a landmark church in NYC. PV module prices have fallen quickly in the first half of 2011, with modules from recognized brands being offered for under $1.50 / watt. PV market researchers are predicting an increase in module prices in the second half of 2011, caused by strong demand from Germany. But reductions in both rebate programs and 2030 RPS targets being proposed in New Jersey, the second largest US PV market after California, may temper price increases.


NYC Energy Incentives

February 16, 2011

* Good for jobs, bad for conservation, and worse for distribution infrastructure: NYC has incentives to reduce facility power rates by 45% and NG rates by 35% for small businesses relocating to the city or expanding existing facilities.

* NYC building owners who install (read: get signed-off) a PV system before December 31, 2012 are eligible for a property tax abatement worth up to 20% of the installed cost of the system, capped at $250,000. The tax abatement may be taken in addition to the NYSERDA incentive ($1.75/W DC). The abatement is spread equally over four years (i.e. up to 5% of eligible system costs per year, capped at $62,500), and may not exceed one’s property tax liability for any given year. For systems installed on condominiums, the abatement is divided among all tax lots within the building. To secure the abatement, one needs a registered architect or P.E. to file the work with NYC Department of Buildings. For a PDF of additional PV incentives, including ones for LIPA customers, please email me.


March 18, 2009


NYS has a cash rebate program to assist local government, schools and non-profits install PV. US$13.8 Million is currently available.

The rebate is $5,000. per kW for the first 25 kW, $4,000. per kW after the first 25 kW up to a total of 50 kW per site or meter. The rebate is limited to 110% of the facility load; systems larger are eligible for rebates only on the first 110% of load, to prevent giving incentives to Distributed Generators in an era of net metering.

Rebates are paid in two increments and are tied to specific installation milestones. A payment for 75% of the total amount approved is paid after system components have been delivered to a customer’s site, permits have been obtained, and the necessary state application is completed, submitted, and approved. The customer has 90 days from the date that the initial invoice is approved to complete the installation.

The second rebate for the remaining 25%  is paid after the PV system has been connected to the utility grid, inspected by an electrical inspector, and additional paperwork has been completed, submitted and approved. Installers must provide a list of names for all primary crew members working on the installation with the final payment. Documentation for utility and town inspections must be provided.

No local, state, or federal taxes are used to pay for the rebates because it is the Systems Benefit Charge collected on NYS ratepayers’ bills that pays for the NYS PV program. Take a look at your utility bill to see your contribution.

There are additional benefits for PV related to NYC real estate taxes and federal taxes, but as local government, schools and non-profits are not subject to taxes, the ability of these users to benefit (by sale of tax credits, for instance) is not clearly evident.

Further benefits related to RECs and carbon credits will the subject of a future post.


Photo courtesy Sunpower Corporation, module layout and payback analysis at Norwalk Aquarium, MeXSI Inc


March 12, 2009

mastheadsubI attended National Facilities Management & Technology conference at the Baltimore Convention Center on Wednesday. The theme for the show was “going green”, from health of cooling tower water to workings of Power Purchase Agreements, the two best presentations witnessed.

Solar tri-generation was my best-of-show for most exotic building technology. Try this: an exoskeleton of piping carrying glycol or water sent to small gallium PV collectors on which tracking mirrors have concentrated sun rays. The exoskeleton and rows of mirrors are constructed over roofs of parking decks at a height 48″ off the roof surface. The glycol cools the back of the collectors, the heat carried away is sent through a heat exchanger to either heat or cool the interior of an adjacent structure. The technology is Canadian and reportedly guaranteed by its government. The licensee is NJ-based for US deployment.

Solar tri-generation is new to me; conventional tri-generation (combined heat and power) takes natural gas as fuel to fire absorption chillers which heat, cool, and make electricity. Tecogen makes such a chiller, applications generally limited to large facilities such as hospitals with constant need for “waste” heat, here used to heat DHW. Tri-generation for small facilities makes sense only when the cost of natural gas is extremely cheap, or power expensive. Solar tri-generation may have its applications, architects will be challenged to deploy it if the US states provide incentives. I would be concerned about panel life and ease of replacement and graceful integration of the exoskeleton into the structure.



Toyota Motors was at the show. TM continues to lead its industry in alternative energy implementation both in cars and buildings. 2008 saw the completion of their roof-mounted PV installation for a site in Ontario, California, the largest roof-mounted PV system in North America. Sunpower’s Powerlight fixed mounting system was deployed.


Six football fields of silicon