Solar Photovoltaics (PV) & Batteries

Clean, renewable electricity generation and storage to dramatically reduce utility costs.

Tech Overview

Applicable Buildings Types all buildings
When to Implement anytime, at time of roof replacement, mid-cycle or refinance

*Be sure to consult a qualified service provider to determine the right measures for your building.

What are Solar Photovoltiacs?

A solar photovoltaic (PV) provides clean, renewable electricity that can be used to meet a building’s immediate energy needs, stored in batteries for future use, and in some cases, sold back to the electric grid for utility cost savings. By converting sunlight into  renewable electricity, this technology produces onsite electricity for buildings and dramatically reduce electricity costs.

Fig 1. In a typical solar PV system, solar energy is harvested by the solar panels, converted into usable energy by the solar inverter, and applied to various end uses through the inverter charger.

How to Implement

Solar PV systems complement other high-performance building upgrades by supporting net zero energy goals and significantly reducing utility costs. Download the full tech primer to learn more about each of the following steps:
A. Size the System to the electric load requirement of the building and consider placement of panels with allowances for shade, mechanical equipment access, and walkways
B. Install Panels using ballasted or mechanically fastened systems
C. Choose a Battery to store electricity generated by the PV system and discharge it at times of peak demand or high electricity rates
D. Install a System Monitor to give real-time readouts on voltage, current, power output, state of charge, and alerts to notify staff of functional issues
E. Obtain Green Financing from New York government programs that are available to help secure incentives and maximize investment

Cost and Benefits

Cost and benefits of installing a solar PV and battery system will vary depending on your building’s baseline systems and conditions. Typically, buildings can expect to see the following results:
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Savings
GHG savings are significant in any solar PV installation as the conversion to a clean, renewable electricity source dramatically reduces GHG emissions.
Tenant Experience Improvement
Tenants’ everyday experience will likely remain unchanged, however solar PV systems with battery storage reduce electricity bills and can provide backup generation for emergency equipment in the event of a power outage.
Utility Savings
Solar PV systems generate electricity onsite, leading to dramatic utility savings.
Capital Cost
Installing a solar PV system requires a high upfront capital investment that may decrease as system size increases. Battery costs vary widely by application.
Maintenance Requirement
Solar PV systems are inherently low-maintenance, usually involving cleaning equipment, checking for leaks and corrosion, and checking that equipment is within proper operating ranges.

Take Action

This information is part of more than a dozen High Performance Technology Primers prepared by the Building Energy Exchange and the Retrofit Accelerator to introduce decision-makers to solutions that can help them save energy and improve comfort in their buildings. Curious about other retrofitting possibilities? Explore our complete library of Tech Primers here.
The NYC Retrofit Accelerator’s team of Efficiency Advisors offers free, personalized advisory services to help streamline the process of making energy efficient improvements to your buildings.
Get in touch with the NYC Retrofit Accelerator today!
Call (212) 656-9202
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