Good things take time. After chasing its solar dream for almost a decade, the board at the 431-unit River Terrace, a Mitchell-Lama co-op perched above the Hudson River in Washington Heights, will soon start reaping the rewards. The annual projected savings of the solar portion of the project are $16,000, and a linked cogeneration system, once completed, will save an additional $90,000. “At some point in 2020,” predicts Mark Hines, a former board member, “we will start to experience the benefits of these investments.”
If co-op or condo boards are thinking about embarking on their own solar journey, they need to get ready to learn some new words. “It's crazy with the jargon,” says Hines, “many layers of stuff that would essentially be a barrier to the average board or anybody wanting to know this. That, I think, is the real task here: How to make it more digestible.” To that end, Hines is working to take the lessons River Terrace has learned over the last six years and explain them in plain English to help educate other boards.
Combining complementary projects can bring even more savings. About four years ago, the board at River Terrace decided to turn the solar project into a joint program with a cogeneration system, also known as combined heat and power. According to Hines, the decisions to install each system were separate, but the benefits grew when the two systems were combined.
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