Flushing window and door factory reduces carbon footprint with new solar panels – QNS.com
Crystal Window & Door Systems in Flushing is helping to reduce its carbon footprint in New York with newly installed solar panels on its roof.
The production plant, located at 31-10 Whitestone Expy., has completed the installation of a large new nearly one megawatt solar power generation system that includes more than 2,300 solar panels. The solar panels are expected to generate nearly one million kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, offsetting about 35% of the manufacturer’s overall electricity needs.
The Crystal system is one of the largest systems in Queens and New York.
“Our New York headquarters and factory have over 100,000 square feet of unshaded usable roof space, so solar panels just made sense,” said 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 facility as energy efficient as possible.
In addition to the environmental benefit, Crystal also uses sustainable hydropower for much of its electricity supply.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), replacing 1 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 750,000 pounds of coal burned per year 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. PPAs are generally transferable upon resale to new building owners, increasing the value of a property.
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 structures 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 whole system consists of 2,320 solar panels, associated racks and 18 electrical inverters.
“Ultimately, our new solar generation system will offset about 35% of Crystal’s total electricity consumption,” Chen said. “We will be purchasing electricity generated from the solar system on the roof of our factory in Amergy, saving money with lower electricity rates. This was a great decision for our operations, a great way to help the city of New York and New York State to meet their greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and a great way to make the environment greener for everyone.