Dark Days for Solar Energy Customers Hoping for Con Ed Discounts
March 17, 2022
The outlook is cloudy for many New Yorkers taking part in Con Ed’s community solar program looking to see regular discounts on their electric bills while helping the environment.
Developers, industry representatives and even public housing officials told THE CITY they’ve heard from customers who haven’t gotten any credits, or others who have gotten multiple credits some months and none others.
The promise of saving money and the planet compelled East Village resident John Senter to sign up for community solar in the summer of 2020.
“Community solar is like buying local,” said Senter, 65, a retired stagehand who owns an apartment in a large multi-family building with his wife.
In the programs, electricity customers can subscribe to a solar project that’s usually somewhere other than where they live—since renters in the city have no say on whether to put panels on their buildings and owners may not have space suitable for arrays.
Community solar subscribers like Senter are supposed to earn credits on their monthly electric bills from the solar energy generated from the project, generally saving 5 to 10%. But for months, those credits haven’t been appearing on Con Ed customers’ bills in a consistent manner, several people told THE CITY.
Since the solar project Senter subscribed to in Brooklyn went live in the spring of 2021, he’s only received discounts on his electric bill twice.
Sun-power proponents on Thursday for the first time took public action to address the issue with a petition organized by the New York Solar Energy Industries Association.