Affordable Housing Solar WBE Game Changer

Affordable Housing developers/general contractors in NYC and The Five Boroughs are increasingly hiring Grid City Electric Corp. and its sister company, 770 Electric Corp (as a Women’s Business Enterprise WBE) to engineer, install and maintain their solar energy systems. Historically, a WBE option for solar was not available to major affordable housing developers since many energy engineering/compliance firms try to wrap (and thus increase the cost) of the trade aspect of solar into their consulting budgets. In the absence of competition, this practice pushed the costs of the systems upward. Today however, developers can option to use Grid City Electric/770 Electric Corp as a WBE to carry out the implementation and installation of the solar energy project. The concept of a solar energy installation being completed by a WBE represents a seismic shift in the way solar panels and storage are being applied to affordable housing projects under New York’s Housing Preservation and Development agency (HPD) as well as various New York State affordable housing agencies.

Caption: Affordable Housing Solar Project under HPD Completed By Grid City Electric Corp. and 770 Electric Corp WBE

The reason why this company is now the chosen developer/installer of largest sky scraping solar projects is due to a perfect storm of legal and economic conditions which changed the framework for green technology adoption in affordable housing.

Legal: All government contracts whether it be from New York State or NYC HPD have to comply with Local Law 1 which requires a certain percentage of every project be allocated to Minority and Women’s Owned Enterprises (15% each). This law can be satisfied by a developer from any trade whether it be dry-wall, electrical, windows, and roofing etc. The reason why it is so attractive to use a WBE for solar is because the investment

1) Is heavily subsidized by rebates, tax credits, and property tax breaks unlike other trades. The top line cost of a solar investment will be applied toward the Local Law 1 requirement which is then heavily discounted by mentioned incentives. A system proportionally can be discounted by over 60% by such measures but the top line cost is applied as WBE requirement.  As of today, it appears Grid City Electric Corp./770 Electric Corp represent the only local, licensed, and proven solar design/build firm which is WBE.

2) The energy savings will typically pay for the entire investment in under 5 years to be followed by over 30 years of cash flow positive savings.

3) The solar panels can be installed very inexpensively and architecturally to provide overhead awning and shading to roof top amenity environments and gardens.

4) Can replenish a contingency fund which developers set aside in such projects. The contingency funds in some cases go toward a solar system which will pay the developer back in less than five years


Caption: Wall Mounted Solar Installed By Grid City Electric Corp./ 770 Electric Corp WBE

Environmental: Affordable housing is going through a major renaissance. In the next 10 years, various poverty stricken areas throughout the boroughs will undergo a complete transformation. Affordable housing agencies are thinking about the future and are thinking of developing green buildings. Developers who want to win the contracts from the administrative agencies go to great lengths to integrate as much environmentally impactful technologies as possible including efficient appliances, passive house technology, LED’s, roof top gardens and solar panels. Since many of the contractors who develop affordable housing also manage the buildings after construction, measures such as solar panels and other renewables play a key role in keeping expenses low over the long term. In fact, many affordable housing contractors are applying solar panels as a retrofit to an existing portfolio of managed buildings. Most affordable management contracts can span for 30 years and the savings which can be recouped by such measures could represent savings in the millions of dollars across a portfolio.

Political: “Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s comprehensive energy strategy for New York. REV helps consumers make more informed energy choices, develop new energy products and services, and protect the environment while creating new jobs and economic opportunity throughout the State.” Under REV, the governor wants 50% of all electricity to come from solar and other forms of renewables, a 40^% reduction in emissions from 1990 levels, and a reduction of consumption from buildings by 23% from 2012 levels by the year 2030. State agencies such as NYSERDA, DCAS, DOT, NYCHA, CONED and many others are all implementing their own initiatives in support of this goal. Federally,the US Department of Energy (DOE) implemented its own SunShot Initiative with the goal to make utility, commercial, and residential solar more affordable (we have hit the 2020 goal for utility generation 3 years early). The Federal government is also implementing emergency measures and funding toward building communities which could be sustained with solar + storage which could provide a resilliency to our municipal infrastructure.

Caption: Grid City Electric/770 Electric Corp Installing at the Lawrence Cedarhurst Fire Department

Economic: The costs of installing solar panels are plummeting. Solar is now becoming competitive with other conventional power sources. In fact, GTM Research expects a drop of 27 percent of global project prices by 2022 at a rate of over 4% per year. According to the GTM report, reductions in prices are projected across the entire supply chain with inverters, trackers and installation costs. One thing important to note is the expiration on many tax incentives and rebates which are set to expire by end of 2018. Grid City Electric Corp./770 Electric Corp can help ensure your project the incentive eligibility.In fact, solar is financially mature with a plethora of direct ownership and 3rd party ownership options requiring 0 upfront cost with savings from day 1.- State Subsidized LoansOperating LeaseCommunity Solar – Power Purchase Agreement- a result of State, Federal, Political, Economic, Environmental, and Affordable Housing forces, developers are turning to Grid City Electric and 770 Electric Corp. to win more affordable housing bids, make their buildings more environmentally conscious, to enhance roof top amenities with solar roof top shading structures, to reduce electricity costs of managed properties, and to satisfy WBE criteria with a substantially subsidized investment that has a rapid payback period.

The future is bright and that’s a good thing for solar. Grid City Electric/770 Electric Corp (WBE) develops, originates, and installs complete photo-voltaic and battery backup systems; Other aspects include the management and installation of various energy efficiency upgrades such as LED lighting.  When choosing Grid City Electric/770 Electric Corp, you guarantee that the entire process, from start to finish, takes place under one roof. That provides a bevy of benefits that can be summed up in one simple phrase – maximum efficiency. In addition, we combine a WBE opportunity with an unmatched level of expertise. We employ a full staff of knowledgeable and experienced professionals, including an in-house master electrician/electrical engineer, which allows us to provide a professional product with an approachable touch.

Long Island NY’s Premier Solar Community

Grid City Electric 2047 Nameoke Ave, Queens NY 718.785.9243

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