U.S. Energy Group Launches Solar Power Initiative; Co-Op Used in Prototype

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorFresh Meadows, N.Y.–U.S. Energy Group, a firm that develops and integrates energy control, monitoring and analysis systems for large residential properties, has launched USE Solar, a new solar energy initiative that focuses on the potential for multifamily and commercial buildings to use solar power.U.S. Energy Group manufactures and monitors approximately 4,000 energy control systems. In addition, the company delivers emergency alerts to clients via text message, email or fax, explains Jerry Pindus, founder and CEO of U.S. Energy Group and president of TedPin Realty Co., an owner and operator of apartments and co-ops in the N.Y. metro area. For its newest initiative, U.S. Energy Group selected The Renee, a six-story, 120-unit co-op in Fresh Meadows, N.Y.—which is also the company’s headquarters—as the prototype. The building’s roof provides little shading, making it suitable for the project.Solar panels will be installed on The Renee’s roof to convert sunlight into electricity, which will then be used in the building’s common areas, says Pindus. The solar panels will be tied to U.S. Energy Group’s USE Manager Internet-based monitoring system. The difference between this and other solar power initiatives is that U.S. Energy Group will be managing the building’s efficiency. “In our business, the most important thing is information, and if you don’t have the information, you can’t improve anything. You can’t manage if you don’t have anything to mange. This is a relatively new concept because people who ran the buildings that we work in never did it,” Pindus tells MHN. 
Quixotic Systems Inc., a solar energy company offering consulting, design and engineering services, and Tristate Solar Inc., a solar energy system design, installation and service company, are working with U.S. Energy Group on the Renee and will install the photovoltaic system, which will consist of 142 solar modules of 200 watts each. Quixotic is designing the system and Tristate is working as a project integrator.  The solar system is projected to provide 17 percent to 20 percent of The Renee’s common area electricity. Additionally, the system is projected to prevent the production of approximately 27,139 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is providing a $100,000 rebate incentive for this project, which may also receive federal and state tax credits and a property abatement tax of 8.7 percent for four years. In addition, the co-op can sell back the unused electricity to the grid and the tax credits will be passed along to the residents. “What’s interesting is that the price of fuel went down and a lot of the shareholders were concerned that the price of electricity would go down, which would make it not worthwhile, but everyone agreed it was temporary and better to do everything we can while we have the money,” Pindus notes.