When Suen Lau decided to install solar panels on the roof of his home, he could not find a local contractor to bid for the job.
He spoke with a number of contractors he found through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Web site.
“I called 10 or 15 of them before I connected with someone,” said Lau, 45, of Whitestone. “I discovered that a lot of people don’t want to deal with the red tape associated with doing this kind of work in the city.”
Lau found a contractor and is now enjoying the financial and environmental benefits of living in a solar powered home. But the approval of the design of his panels by Con Edison, along with additional permits, approvals and inspections required by various city and state agencies, totaled almost four months.
Solar power fills man’s home, wallet
“These panels produce clean energy and supply 80 percent of my power needs,” Lau said. “I pay less for my energy needs now than I did before the panels were installed.”
Lau estimated that his monthly Con Ed bill averaged $900-$1,000 per month before converting to solar power. He now pays $600-$700 per month.
Solar powered homes also help prevent blackouts because the excess power they produce reverts to Con Ed’s main electrical grid. This extra power can then be used to fortify neighborhoods experiencing a higher demand for electricity.
Solar powered homes require a long-term commitment and large financial investment upfront.