Solar panels save market-rate renters $$

Benedict Realty Group is planning to bring solar panels - similar to the ones pictured here at 2022 Benedict Avenue - to it’s 3025 Godwin Terrace building by late fall.
Photo Courtesy of Benedict Realty Group

Bronx-based Benedict Realty Group is planning to install solar panels to it’s 3025 Godwin Terrace building by late fall.

The six-story, 65-unit building will be BRG’s third building in the Bronx that uses solar panels to generate energy to power its common-area lighting, elevators and boiler.

BRG’s two other solar-powered Bronx building’s, 2022 Benedict Avenue and 4568 Manhattan College Parkway, were upgraded in 2014, and started a program which stretched to Brooklyn and Queens.

Ari Benedict of BRG Realty said the development company plans to start putting approximately 100 to 150 panels on the Godwin Terrace building by mid-summer and have them up and running by late fall.

“Traditionally electricity is supplied by burning coal or natural gas, which contribute towards pollution and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Benedict. “Solar energy is a clean alternative with zero emissions, no pollution, and no harmful effects on the environment.”

Benedict adds that even on cloudy days the panels are able to turn energy from the sun into electricity.

According to Benedict, BRG has already seen some success with its other two buildings.

At the Manhattan College Parkway building – which has 325 panels on the roof – the installation has helped saved 112,911 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions since 2014.

To save the same amount of emissions, BRG would have had to plant 2,843 trees near the building.

In addition, the amount of power generated from the panels could power 200,965 lightbulbs for a day.

Benedict adds the company has saved $16,000 in electricity costs since 2014.

At the Benedict Avenue property, the company has saved $61,000 in electricity costs since 2014.

As far as carbon dioxide emissions, the 126 panels at have saved 436,615 pounds.

The amount of power generated at the building since 2014 could have powered 854,447 lightbulbs for one day.

“We’re motivated by a combination of these projects saving money on our electricity bills and also just being more friendly to the environment,” said Benedict.

According to Benedict, the Benedict Avenue job cost about $300,000 and the installation at Manhattan College Parkway cost $116,000.

Although the company was aided by New York State tax incentives and partial funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Benedict said the jobs are still expensive.

Therefore, BRG makes sure to choose buildings that don’t have a lot of clutter on their roofs and are not surrounded by taller buildings that could block out sunlight.

Benedict adds that without the state’s financial help, the projects would have been cost prohibitive.

Although many of BRG’s Bronx apartments are rent stabilized, Benedict said paying less for electricity helps reduce costs for the market-rate rentals.

“Where the tenants are not rent stabilized the price of rent is directly correlated to the expenses in the building,” said Benedict. “So if we’re able to keep expenses down by keeping our electricity cost down, then we can keep the rent lower for the tenants.”

Benedict said if more development companies were aware of the success of the solar panels, they would install them on their buildings.

Reach Reporter Robert Christie at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at rchristie@cnglocal.com.

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