Bill Morris in Bricks & Bucks on April 28, 2021
A new chapter in the greening of New York City is being written in an industrial swath of Staten Island. There Daroga Power, a clean-energy infrastructure developer, is installing 48 fuel cells that will send 12 megawatts of electricity to the Con Edison grid and produce savings for the project’s members – a mix of co-ops and condos, large commercial enterprises and low- to moderate-income residents.
“It’s the first project of its kind in New York City,” says David Matt, a co-founder of Daroga Power. “We’re helping the grid – and our project’s members.”
Fuel cells use the chemical energy of a fuel – sometimes hydrogen, in this case natural gas – to cleanly produce electricity. Fuel cells are widely used in satellites, as a backup power source in buildings, and to power everything from automobiles to forklifts to submarines.
The fuel cells in the Staten Island project were manufactured by California-based Bloom Energy. The project’s $103 million budget was financed from two sources: institutional and private capital raised by Daroga Power, and a $20 million loan from New York Green Bank.
“NY Green Bank is pleased to provide liquidity to further expand the fuel cell market in New York City, and enable a cleaner, more resilient energy grid for all New Yorkers,” Kim Erle, the bank’s managing director, tells Business Wire. “Additionally, this transaction supports Gov. Cuomo’s goal to ensure that all New Yorkers, including those in disadvantaged communities, have reliable access to cleaner energy.”
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The Staten Island project is what’s known as community distributed generation. Matt explains: “The consumer signs up by going to our website, goCDG.com. It’s free to sign up. Every month on their Con Edison bill they’ll receive a credit, usually between 7% and 10% of the total amount due.” Members are signed up on a first-come, first-served basis.
Daroga Power is already operating two community solar projects in Brooklyn and is developing one of the city’s largest community solar electric-vehicle charging stations, in Queens. Another fuel cell project is in the works in the Bronx, with completion scheduled for next year. The company is slated to have 20.2 megawatts of generating capacity in the city by the end of 2021, and it has allocated up to half of its community distributed generation power to low- and moderate-income Con Edison customers, people who traditionally have limited access to clean energy.
PRINCIPAL PLAYERS – PROJECT DEVELOPER: Daroga Power. LENDER: New York Green Bank. MANUFACTURER: Bloom Energy.
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