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Here Comes the Sun

A slew of local dignitaries and elected officials were on hand to help the Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven (JCC) cut the ribbon on its new solar carport – the largest in the region – on Thursday, July 16, at the JCC’s building on Amity Road in Woodbridge.

The project began with the desire of the JCC and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven to lower their utility costs and reduce its carbon footprint at the Beckerman/Lender building, which the two agencies share. It resulted in what JCC and Federation leaders say is, at 750 kilowatts, the largest solar carport project in New England. It is also the first financed under Connecticut Green Bank’s innovative C-PACE-secured PPA structure, requiring no money down from the JCC and providing immediate cost savings. With Green Bank’s help, the JCC installed solar panels on parking canopies to generate 50 percent of the building’s electrical costs. Before installation of the panels, consumption of electricity at the facility was 1,800,000 KWH. The solar panels are expected to lower consumption to 880,000 KWHs.

“If electricity purchase rates continue to rise, the carports and solar panels will significantly reduce our costs over their lifetime. We are very excited to be able to save money and cut down on our energy consumption,” said Scott Cohen, the JCC’s Chief Operating Officer.

Located in the parking lot of the JCC, construction on the panels began in the winter and ended when the solar panels began functioning on June 23. The new panels complement actions already taken to lower utility costs at the JCC, including: negotiating favorable utility rates, installing energy efficient lighting systems, and the installation of a co-generation unit.

“The solar carport at the JCC is an innovative way for the organization to cut down on its electric costs” said Bryan Garcia, president and CEO of Connecticut Green Bank. “This project and other projects supporting energy efficiency measures and renewable energy sources benefit Connecticut and the region.”

CAP: Cutting the ceremonial ribbon at the launch of the JCC of Greater New Haven’s new solar carport were: (l to r) JCC Board President Bob Felice, DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee, Woodbridge First Selectwoman Ellen Scalettar, State Rep. Patricia Dillon, State Sen. Joe Crisco, Bullrock Deutsche Eco Solar CEO Daniel Prokopy, Deutsche Eco Managing Director Paul Kuehn, JCC and Jewish Federation COO/CFO Scott Cohen.

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