This innovative company wants to make city housing energy efficient

Emerald Pellot

More Brooklyn homeowners are opting for solar power thanks to companies like Brooklyn SolarWorks.

New York City is not exactly boasting a lot of sustainable homes. That’s largely due to strict regulations from fire codes on brownstones and rowhouses. Such homes require a lot more customization which isn’t exactly affordable. 

Fortunately, a combination of tax incentives and new tech by Brooklyn SolarWorks makes it possible for residents to go greener.

“Solar has really taken off in suburban pitched roof areas, where you have standard large pitched roofs that you can install big systems on,” Chris Neidl of Brooklyn SolarWorks told the Brownstoner. “Small, customized systems have been avoided.”

Founded in 2015, SolarWorks has one mission: to bring solar power to Brooklyn homeowners. The company pioneered a new design and installation method for urban dwellings. 

Unlike pitched roof homes, Brooklyn brownstones have flat roofs that most residents use for things like hatches, AC units and decks — thus space is limited. This, coupled with fire codes and various building heights that can easily block one another building’s sunlight, makes installation harder. The company created its patented, award-winning Brooklyn Solar Canopy to combat the issue. 

The canopy elevates the solar panels, which are attached to a 9-foot aluminum frame, over obstructed roofs to make them functional. Meanwhile, its smaller tilt rack is mounted closer to the roof’s surface to work around barriers like hatches and skylights. 

Vinz Feller, a Brooklynite who installed the tilt rack system paid $29,500 upfront. But he expects reimbursement of $15,000 to $18,000 in rebates and incentives. Moreover, his Con Edison electric bill has gone from $250 a month to $25. 

“In a year and a half of renovating, this was hands down the easiest thing I’ve done,” Feller said. “The other big aspect for us really was the environmental factor. Ideally, I’d just be totally off the grid.”

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