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Elmo Homes co-op in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, where free solar panels will soon be installed on the roof (image via Google Maps)

Dec. 21, 2016

The cost of harnessing the sun’s power has been going down – thanks to cheaper technology and abundant tax breaks and other incentives. Now a lucky Brooklyn co-op has scored the dream deal: free rooftop solar panels.

Elmo Homes, a 24-unit co-op in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, has become the city’s first beneficiary of a new solar energy financing model for co-ops and condos put together by Zero Carbon Corporation and the New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC). Under the financing arrangement, a $186,000 NYCEEC loan will pay for installing solar panels on the prewar building’s roof. The loan will be repaid through tax credits and the co-op’s predicted $10,000 in annual savings on electric bills.

"This is a financing model that capitalizes on the unique ownership structures of co-ops to make rooftop solar viable for small and medium-sized co-op buildings," says Posie Constable, NYCEEC's Director of Business Development.

"We were convinced that our project would help to stabilize the finances in our building and move towards reducing our energy costs," adds Eric Appleton, board president of Elmo Homes. "Taking a loan to fund the project, however, was worrisome for our members, especially in a building that has never borrowed money in its 90-year history. NYCEEC's and Zero Carbon's willingness...to find a way to manage the aggregated tax credits allowed us to be comfortable taking this step."

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