This roof has shining future

Like the late Sixties’ rock musical ‘Hair’, a major Bronx food distributor has teamed up with the state and Con Edison to “let the sunshine in.”

Gov. Cuomo announced completion of the largest solar installation to date in New York City under the NY-Sun initiative at Jetro Cash and Carry’s Restaurant Depot facility in Hunts Point

The project’s smart grid technology will opens the way for more large solar projects in the city, he said, as well as “building a clean energy economy in New York State,”

The 1.56 megawatt rooftop solar project, designed, engineered and installed by the Ross Solar Group, includes more than 4,700 solar panels, with a computer-controlled communications system that allows to connect safely with the Consolidated Edison network, and for Con Edison to remotely monitor and control the system.

Officials said the project is expected to generate in excess of 1.8 million kilowatt hours of clean energy annually, covering 45 percent of the building’s electricity costs, and saving the company $220,000 annually.

When the solar panels are producing more power than Jetro is using, explained Con Ed spokesman Allan Drury, the excess energy is fed back into the Con Edison system and available for other customers, with Jetro paid for it.

The wholesale cash and carry food service supplier serves independent restaurants, caterers and non-profits with over 100 locations throughout the United States.

“We considered a solar project for several years, but we wanted to make certain that it made financial sense for us as a company and that the returns met our requirements,” said Jetro Vice President Peter Claro. “Ross Solar Group’s willingness to work within our specific guidelines, as well as their commitment to full transparency were strong factors in our decision to move forward.”

“With additional NY-Sun funding now available we hope to see other businesses follow Jetro Cash and Carry’s lead,” Cuomo said in a statement. “The smart grid technology being employed at this site is exactly the kind of innovative solution that New York State needs to increase the resiliency of its grid.”

“We believe this technology opens the way for other large solar arrays,” said Robert Schimmenti, vice president of engineering and planning for Con Edison. “That will mean cleaner air and a more reliable electrical grid for all of us.”

The project was made possible by an award that Ross Solar received from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) under Gov. Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative.

Cuomo said that $30 million is available through NY-Sun’s Competitive PV Program to stimulate other large-scale solar and biogas projects in New York City and the Hudson Valley.

NY-Sun was put into effect last year to dramatically increase the amount of solar capacity in the state. As a result, more PV systems are being developed now than in the entire prior decade combined, said officials.

More from Around NYC