Two Kingston-area businesses have teamed up to install the first Community Distributed Generation solar facility established within the eight-county service territory of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. Through a partnership between Robert Ryan, owner of Ryan Insurance Brokers, and Heritage Solar, an affiliate of Kingston-based fuel oil and propane distributor HeritagEnergy, the new system will allow several dozen residential customers to purchase renewable energy.
“Community Distributed Generation, or CDG, offers a way for a group of residents and/or businesses to share in the electricity produced through renewable generation,” said Anthony S. Campagiorni, Central Hudson Vice President of Regulatory and Government Affairs. “Through this program, a developer may install and operate a renewable generator in one location, and contract with homes and businesses in other locations for shares of the electricity.”
He explained that each CDG must have a sponsor who owns or operates the project, organizes the membership, and interfaces with the utility. Each project must have a least 10 members, and no more than 40 percent of the electrical output may serve members with an electrical demand of 25 kW or more. The rules governing CDGs are established by state regulators.
“The CDG solar facility located on Ulster Avenue in the Town of Ulster is the first in the region, and one of the first in all of New York State,” Campagiorni said.
The 166.5 kW roof-mounted solar electric generating system is installed on a building owned by Robert Ryan, and enrolled customers of Heritage Solar are assigned shares of the electricity produced by the system for a monthly fee. The electric output is allocated based upon an agreement between the customers and the developers, and a credit for the value of the energy produced is applied to the customers’ utility bills by Central Hudson. The arrangement provides benefits for the solar developer, building owner and tenants, sponsor and participating customers.
“The roof of my building is now an investment that generates and sells electricity using solar panels,” said Robert Ryan, President of Ryan and Ryan Insurance. He explained that the solar installation was part of a larger project to improve the energy efficiency of the building, including a new white reflective roof. “The solar panels, produced locally by Highland-based Prism Solar Technologies, are bifacial, using sunlight from above and reflected light from the white roof below to produce electricity,” he said. “This design increases power output, providing more electrical energy from the same space.”
Ryan worked with Joseph Deegan of SVN Deegan-Collins Realty and Thomas Kacandes of Inside Track Solar to manage the project. The solar installation was performed by Jaffer Electric and Sunrise Solar Solutions. Heritage Solar is using an online community solar project management system from Ampion to manage allocations of electricity produced by the solar panels to each of the enrollees.
Kenneth Davenport, co-owner of Heritage Solar said that several dozen customers are enrolled in the program making this project fully subscribed, “however we’re planning for new opportunities.”