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image credit: Con Edison

Con Edison is offering, free of charge, a device that can save upwards of $1,000 for a residential customer installing a new solar array.

The Smart ConnectDER, built by ConnectDER, Con Edison’s partner on the project, allows the customer to avoid the cost of upgrading the circuit breaker panel. It also eliminates the need for excessive electrical boxes on the side of the home.

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The Smart ConnectDER is an adapter that uses the electric meter socket as a point of interconnection for solar power. It fits on most electric meters and works for solar arrays up to 15 kilowatts – meaning nearly all residential solar projects.

In addition, on homes where the meter socket is on an exterior wall, the installer does not have to enter the home to connect the solar to the home wiring. That means less contact and potential for coronavirus exposure between the installer and homeowner.

“Providing ConnectDER technology is another step we are taking to make it convenient for customers to choose renewable energy,” said Alexandra Bykov, Con Edison’s project manager. “Con Edison and our customers are leading the transition to a clean energy future, ensuring that our region will remain safe and sustainable.”

“We're pleased to work with Con Edison to deliver quicker and safer solar connections for Greater New York,” said Whit Fulton, the chief executive of ConnectDER. “We're also generating information on how, when, and where solar on the local power grid will be producing energy, which will help Con Edison plan infrastructure investments and increase the adoption of clean power. Con Edison is stalwart in its commitment to get innovative, win-win solutions like ours to their customers.”

Con Edison provided 300 Smart ConnectDERs to customers during a successful pilot program in 2019.

Con Edison then sought and received permission from the New York State Public Service Commission to make ConnectDER technology available to new residential solar customers across New York City and Westchester County.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority chose the program for funding under its Future Grid Challenge, which encouraged companies to find ways to get more clean energy on the grid.

NYSERDA will pay for 2,400 units with Con Edison paying the installation costs for those devices. Con Edison will continue the program even after customers and their contractors install those 2,400 devices.

Smart ConnectDERs are simple and versatile. A solar contractor who wants to use a Smart ConnectDER for a customer’s interconnection would send Con Edison a photo of the meter to confirm that the meter can accommodate the device.

Using a Smart ConnectDER can reduce interconnection time by up to several hours.

Con Edison encourages its customers to consider whether solar energy is right for them. The company has helped more than 35,000 customers complete rooftop projects and connect them to the grid. Those panels have the capacity to produce more than 320 megawatts of power.

As part of its Clean Energy Commitment, the company wants to make it possible for customers to buy 100 percent clean electricity by 2040. Con Edison Inc. is the second largest solar producer in North America and seventh largest in the world.

Allan Drury's picture
Thank Allan for the Post!
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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jan 19, 2021

This sounds like another great way to make installing solar the easy choice for Con Edison customers-- what kind of outreach is the utility doing to reach potential customers to let them know about this opportunity, Allan? 

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Jan 20, 2021

Allan, This sounds good but it actually could not be a big help. As a teacher in NABCEP  and solar owner and installer I have seen very few homes that need a panel upgrade when adding solar. I also say that solar is not an added load on a panel but a different positive power source so the entire idea that a home needs a larger panel upgrade is backwards. None is needed unless you are adding loads. 

    Yet the biggest FACT is does ConEd  add an extra fee if a customer adds solar? Do they pay a fair net-metering rate for power sent back to the GRID?  Do they force the solar home over to a unfair demand charge and time of day rate? So it's the total solar agreement that makes it good for the customer to go solar, not just a rare required panel issue. 

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