NEW YORK, NY, Sep 10, 2015 — Con Edison has earned recognition for a smart grid innovation that lets customers install super-sized photovoltaic arrays and continue to receive reliable service.
The Solar Electric Power Association named Con Edison a winner of the Solar Power Player Award in the Investor Owned Utility category. The association helps utilities integrate solar energy into their portfolios.
“Our customers are seeking clean-energy options and ability to manage their costs,” said Robert Schimmenti, senior vice president, Electric Operations, for Con Edison. “One way we try to help them meet those goals is by making it easy for them to turn to solar, a renewable source that is an important part of our state’s energy future.”
The company earned its award with a 2013 project that enabled Jetro Cash and Carry’s Restaurant Depot to place a 1.6-megawatt array on the roof of a building in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx.
Con Edison engineers were concerned that the backflow of electricity from such a large, net metered installation would cause network switches to open, impacting the reliability of the grid. Con Edison has thousands of network switches on its system. They connect and disconnect underground transformers based on changing load conditions.
The Con Edison experts were able to adjust the relays on the network switches associated with Jetro so that the switches do not open when power flows into the grid from Jetro. But those switches will open if they detect an actual fault.
Since the Jetro panels went into service, Con Edison has used the technology to enable five additional customers to install large solar arrays.
In all, Con Edison customers in New York City and Westchester County, N.Y. have completed 5,500 solar projects, producing 75 megawatts to power their homes and businesses.
Solar energy fits with Con Edison’s ongoing quest to protect the environment, maintain its industry-leading reliable service and save customers money. Solar energy is an important part of Con Edison’s plan to manage the demand for electricity in certain parts of Brooklyn and Queens where rapid economic development is taking place.
The company is also conducting a demonstration project called Virtual Power Plant to explore how solar can be combined with battery storage to increase benefits to the grid and make service more resilient.
Con Edison even placed solar panels on the roof of its headquarters in Manhattan. The 200 panels produce 40 kilowatts of clean, renewable power.
Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. [NYSE: ED], one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $13 billion in annual revenues and $45 billion in assets. The utility provides electric, gas and steam service to more than 3 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, N.Y.
SOURCE: Consolidated Edison, Inc.