With Earth Day around the corner, a Queens landlord is installing solar energy technology on 45 buildings it owns in the borough, which will produce enough clean energy to offset the greenhouse gas emissions of 5 million vehicle miles driven each year.
Serving the rental community for 36 years in Queens and Long Island, the $6.5 million project spearheaded by Zara Realty is expected to be completed next year. More than 6,500 rooftop panels are now being installed on the buildings, which will produce 2.875 million kilowatt hours of electricity, serving the needs of all the properties’ common area electrical systems.
“This is going to be a game changer for the goal of moving into renewable energy,” said Tony Subraj, vice president of Zara Realty. “As building owners, we are in a unique position to do our part to make the investments now that will help leave our children a greener and healthier world. Clean energy is the future, and as we continue modernizing and upgrading older buildings to meet the demands of today’s world, converting to solar energy in our properties will be at the forefront of that effort.”
The solar installation is being carried out by Long Island-based Premier Solar Solutions, along with Sol Alliance energy consultants of New York City. The project supports 50 jobs.
“The order of magnitude of the solar projects that the Zara Realty family is implementing across their portfolio is raising awareness with the people of NYC that we are in the midst of an energy revolution , and that the transformation to a cleaner more sustainable energy future also leads to a better financial model for individuals, businesses and all other stakeholders,” said Stephen Owen, managing partner/founder of Sol Alliance. “Investments in solar provide benefits to everyone in the community, and these projects are proof that doing the right thing for our next generation is also the smart thing financially right now.”
The solar energy technology panels will convert energy use in the common areas of 45 buildings to clean solar energy, which is also equivalent to the carbon emissions of 355 homes and 432 cars over the course of a year. The clean energy savings equals the carbon that is sequestered by 2,393 acres of forest each year, or by the planting of 33,617 new trees.
The project aligns with the state’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), which aims to reduce greenhouse gases by 40 percent and to generate 70 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable resources by 2030, in addition to the city’s OneNYC plan, which aims to reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050.
According to OneNYC, nearly 75 percent of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere in New York City comes from buildings.
Every square foot of roof space on all 45 buildings will be maximized for the most efficient solar design, from standard panels affixed to racking systems to panels designed to lift and tilt above the roofline to ensure every available surface is used.
“Coastal cities like New York are particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change and, as a corporate citizen, we have an obligation to do our part,” said Amir Sobhraj, financial controller of Zara Realty. “This comprehensive renewable energy upgrade will not only help make the air we breathe cleaner, it will lower costs over the long term, providing incentives to continue pursuing the goal of reducing our carbon footprint and converting to clean energy.”
Chris Hoffman, president and founder of Premier Solar Solutions, congratulated Zara’s management for their vision and leadership in deploying one of New York City’s largest solar initiatives to date.
“There are only a handful of projects like this in New York City and they are joining a select group of property owners who are ensuring a cleaner future for us all,” said Hoffman. “It’s a really exciting project that is going to provide massive environmental benefits for all New York City’s residents for years to come. As a Queens native, it gives me great pride to be involved with and spearheading the way our city generates and uses electricity.”