We continue to progress toward cleaner, more efficient ways of distributing energy resources. In addition to making customers aware of energy-efficiency improvements that will help them save on their energy bills, we are working with customers and regulators to test new models for the distribution of energy. Also, we have made significant investments in renewables and large-scale battery storage.
We honored 20 companies in New York City and Westchester County for helping customers make upgrades to their homes to save energy and money. The honorees were chosen for their work in 2015 when Con Edison’s residential customers made HVAC upgrades that saved approximately 3,000 megawatt hours of electricity and 25,000 dekatherms of gas a year. In 2015, we paid out more than 4,300 rebates totaling $2.7 million to residential customers who upgraded their heating and cooling systems. We regularly review our programs to find new opportunities to help customers save on their energy costs. Early in 2016, we introduced a program that enabled qualified customers to receive a $400 rebate for installing a ductless heating and cooling system that can reduce energy costs by up to 30 percent a year.
Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is a combined effort by energy companies, regulators, and industry players to improve the way energy is generated and consumed in New York State. This is in response to customers’ growing desire to control energy costs and usage. One key element in REV is an expanded role for energy companies, who will act as a kind of air-traffic controller, balancing the supply and demand for energy. Under REV, we’ll be able to maximize the benefits of renewable energy and other distributed forms of energy. We’re exploring unique business models for energy companies and service providers that encourage flexibility, innovation, value, and customer engagement. Some examples:
REV initiatives include the Brooklyn Queens Demand Management Program. To defer building a $1 billion substation, we’re working with more than 8,000 residential and business customers in targeted neighborhoods to find solutions to achieve growth. They’re also helping us to reach our goal of a 9-megawatt energy reduction in 2016. Two cases in point:
Con Edison Development’s renewable power facilities included 32 sites in 2015, producing 748 megawatts AC—wind accounted for 153 megawatts AC, and solar for 595 megawatts AC. Con Edison Solutions facilities included 29 sites, producing 22 megawatts AC. Wind assets include full ownership of an operating facility in Ohio and construction of another facility in Massachusetts. Our reach covers six states on the East Coast, four in the Central U.S., and three on the West Coast.
In 2015, the Con Edison Solutions’ residential solar pilot program focused on downstate New York markets and included 515 customer leases and 44 systems installed. We partnered with SunPower, and the SunPower dealer network, to offer the highest-efficiency product in the market. We expect to meet our pilot target for systems sold in the second quarter of 2016, with all systems installed by the fourth quarter of 2016. Customer response has exceeded expectations, with the highest sales on Staten Island and in Queens and Orange counties. We’re considering moving forward with a post-pilot offer for residential solar in New York.
CECONY and O&R have joined forces with four other energy companies and three of America’s leading solar development companies to form a Solar Progress Partnership. The goals are to encourage more solar development in metropolitan New York and to ensure that adequate funding is available to maintain a safe, reliable, and resilient power grid.
CECONY customers now generate more than 100 megawatts of cleaner, renewable power with solar panels on roofs in New York City and Westchester County. As of April 2016, our customers had completed 8,415 solar projects on houses, condos, skyscrapers, and warehouses, generating enough energy to power about 16,000 homes a year. As more customers look for clean energy options and ways to lower their bills, the amount of solar generation in our service area has increased dramatically. At the end of 2010, the amount was only 8.5 megawatts. In 2015 alone, customers like George and John Utley installed nearly 35 megawatts of solar energy. Meet the Utley brothers, who own a manufacturing company.
The Utley brothers’ company paid as much as $10,000 a month for electricity in the summer of 2015. They expect to reap substantial savings this summer after placing 80 solar panels, which produce 20 kilowatts, atop their factory.
We’re working with our commercial customers to help them install batteries in a manner that complies with standards set by the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) and the New York City Department of Buildings. Since this is a new technology, our team developed a comprehensive testing program—to give fire crews a better understanding of how to handle a possible battery-related fire and to aid the building department in developing codes needed for permit applications to install batteries. Our team devised tests using a lead-acid battery to determine how a burning battery responds to water streams and suppressant foam because the FDNY was concerned about the potential for a battery explosion. Tests showed that battery fires could be extinguished through conventional fire-fighting techniques. As a result, the building department voted in June 2015 to include lead-acid battery energy-storage installations in the “standard practice” category of New York City’s buildings code.