Brooklyn Seizes Opportunity To Install Solar Panels For Maximized Value
In the growing field of sustainable energy, advocated by groups like SustainableCT that CCM offers with Eastern Connecticut State University, there is no greater symbol than the solar panel. Whenever an effort to save money through energy comes up, a solar panel is too, such as when Brooklyn education officials suggested investing in arrays for their school.
Coming off a project to invest in new roofs for their elementary and middle school roofs, town education officials suggested placing arrays on the roofs would be an excellent way to maximize timing.
The timing couldn’t make more sense: new roofs are expected to last anywhere from 20 to 30 years depending on climate and type of roofing according to the National Association of Home Builders. Solar panels typically come with performance warranties in the range of 25 years.
And the math makes sense too.
According to Superintendent Patricia Buell, there is a projected savings of $1.1 million and $3.8 million over the course of the 25 year lifespan. That equals out to $44,000 to $152,000 a year in savings after initial costs.
From the Norwich Bulletin, Buell noted that the town had looked at two types of plans: ownership and power purchase agreements. Under the latter, you do not pay for the solar panels or installation, but you lose a cut of the money that the array would bring in.
Brooklyn ultimately went with the former choice, where the costs are frontloaded. From the Bulletin article, it is noted that the full costs are estimated at $1.1 million dollars, but that they will move to receive state funding, which may ultimately reduce the cost of the project by 70 percent.
Following a trend back to top
The town is following a trend where many states and cities have considered new buildings come equipped with solar panels. California became the first state in 2018 to mandate that all new buildings have solar panels starting in 2020.
The New York Times noted that this was “all the more remarkable” because it was unanimously decided by the California Energy Commission. Our northeast neighbors New Jersey and Massachusetts have also considered this type of legislation, as well as Washington D.C.
All Solar Panels have an Energy Payback Time (EPBT) that is factored into legislation like California’s, and small scale projects like Brooklyn’s. It is a measurement of how long in time it takes to fully pay off the initial investment. According to Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy systems, EBPT has gone from three years in 1990 to a year and a half in 2010, and it’s getting better every year.
Investments like these are increasingly making more sense for towns and cities, even for whole states to mandate them on new buildings. Brooklyn approved the motion at the December 13, 2018 meeting, and soon the school’s new roofs will have an array of moneymakers on top.