Crystal Window & Door Systems has completed the installation of a nearly 1 MW solar power generation system on the roof of its corporate headquarters and main production site in Queens, New York. The system includes more than 2,300 solar panels and is expected to generate nearly one million kWh per year, offsetting around 35% of the manufacturer’s overall electricity needs.
“Our New York headquarters and factory have over 100,000 square feet of unshaded usable roof space, so solar panels just made sense,” says Thomas Chen, president and founder of Crystal Windows. “The new solar power generation system is a perfect complement to Crystal’s focus on product energy efficiency. Just as we are committed to providing industry-leading energy efficient products to home and building owners, we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint here in New York and making our production site as energy efficient as possible. Crystal also uses sustainable hydroelectric power for much of its electricity supply.
According to the US EPA, replacing one million kWh per year with solar energy removes more than 1.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide per year from the atmosphere. This is roughly equivalent to eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from more than ¾ million pounds of coal burned annually or removing 154 passenger vehicles from the road each year or replacing 26,860 incandescent lights with LEDs.
Crystal has partnered in a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Amergy Solar, a regional provider of solar power generation systems for commercial and residential properties in New York and New Jersey. With a PPA, the solar system provider owns and maintains the solar generation equipment installed at the customer’s premises while the customer simply purchases the generated electricity at a significant discount to local utility rates.
Crystal’s solar power system took months to design and build. To determine the appropriate scale of the system, Crystal’s power consumption patterns, available roof space and roof structure were examined. Next, the interface between Crystal’s existing electrical system in the building and Con Edison’s electrical distribution system was improved, the roof surface was renovated, installation permits were obtained and required inspections have been carried out.
A custom shelving and bedding system was designed and fabricated for Crystal’s solar panels, featuring a 10 degree slope and a non-roof penetrating connection system. The entire system includes 2,320 solar panels, associated racks and 18 electrical inverters.