Mr. Dalaeli said IPPsolar’s first group has month-to-month contracts, and the account can be transferred to a different address if the customer moves within the five boroughs. The number of subscribers in a group will be capped at 25 households so the firm can ensure a discount to everyone.
“As the concept of community solar gets accepted further, we’ll be able to build larger systems and that will help expand the number of people that can be part of a group,” he said.
IPPsolar derives its power from a solar array system on the rooftop of Truck & Trailer Service Ltd., in East New York, Brooklyn. Michael Rogers, owner of the truck repair and customization firm, said that as a host, he receives a rebate from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, along with a city real estate tax abatement.
“If I see that I’m saving money, I can use that to train and hire more people,” said Mr. Rogers, who considers himself environmentally conscious (he drives a Tesla). He said that several area business owners are keen to see how the system pans out for him before leasing their own rooftop spaces.
“I love everything about community solar, so I don’t mind being the guinea pig,” he said.
Marc Weiss, a townhouse owner in Manhattan’s Union Square area who signed up with a community solar group run by Gotham Community Solar and CleanChoice Energy, said he was game for any program that would decrease his carbon footprint. He was disappointed to find that his own rooftop wasn’t ideal for solar panels when he inquired about installing them a few years ago.
“I’m expecting solar power will be a main energy source for many communities in the future, so joining a community solar group is my vote for that,” said Mr. Weiss, whose solar power comes from an array atop a building in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
A partial list of community solar groups can be found at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Sustainable CUNY.