A Queens landlord has installed solar technology on more than half the buildings it owns in the borough, part of an ambitious project that will eventually transform its entire portfolio and produce enough clean energy to offset the greenhouse gas emissions of 5 million vehicle miles driven each year.
Solar panels have been installed on 26 of the 45 buildings Zara Realty owns and manages in Queens, enough to power more than 125 households, producing 1.3 million kilowatt hours (kWh), about half the 2.7 million kilowatt hours (kWh) that will be produced when the project is complete at the end of 2021.
Zara is converting all energy use in the common areas of its Queens buildings to clean solar energy, which will also be equivalent to eliminating the carbon emissions of 355 homes and 432 cars over the course of a year. The annual energy savings would equal the carbon sequestered by 2,393 acres of forest, or by the planting of 33,617 new trees.
Nearly 3,000 of the planned 6,500 panels have been installed and are currently supplying energy. The $6.5 million installation project is being carried out by Premier Solar Solutions, a veteran-owned New York based solar installation company. The project supports 50 jobs.
Construction was briefly delayed in spring 2020 as a result of the pandemic but was resumed when solar energy installation was declared essential by New York State.
“If there is one thing this last year of challenges has made clear, it’s that we all must do whatever we can to help one another and help our planet,” said Tony Subraj, co-Managing Partner at Zara Realty. “As property owners, we are continually making key investments in infrastructure to secure quality housing for generations. As part of that mission, Zara Realty feels it is important to make those investments part of our commitment to leaving a cleaner, greener world for our children. Renewable energy is the future, and Zara Realty has always striven to be at the forefront of the effort to improve our environment.”
“Climate change is one of the most urgent crises facing our world and New York City will be particularly vulnerable to its effects,” said Amir Sobhraj, co-Managing Partner at Zara Realty. “We have a collective responsibility to do what is within our power to reduce carbon emissions, and as landlords we have a unique role to play. This solar energy upgrade will mean cleaner air, a brighter future for the coming generations, and it will ultimately reduce costs.”