Promoting solar energy projects in your neighborhood


Catalyzing the transition to a greener, more sustainable and more resilient New York City

               White roof painting  Bus  Solar panels   Urban farm
     





Community groups can make their neighborhood more resilient and environmentally friendly - and earn income - by promoting energy conservation retrofits, cogeneration and solar energy



As climate change continues, extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy will become more frequent.  NYC must become more resilient - able to bounce back from disruption.  At the same time, we must also cut carbon emissions as much as possible to slow down climate change.

What's good for the world is also good for your constituents. Conserving energy, using it more efficiently, and getting more of it from clean renewable sources like solar and/or other onsite generation options like cogeneration units will help to ensure that buildings in your community are minimizing utility expenses and are less vulnerable to future grid disruptions. 

Residential and commercial buildings can become greener and more resilient - while saving money for their owners.  Those initiatives are supported by a host of federal, state and local cash incentives and tax benefits.  Many energy conservation projects will have returns on investment of less than three years, and some can pay for themselves in less than a year.  Savings from harvesting the low hanging fruit can subsidize energy efficiency projects with longer paybacks such as insulating walls and replacing windows.   On-site energy systems like solar energy and cogeneration can provide power to a building in the event of a grid disruption.

 

Buildings in NYC over 50,000 square feet will need to have an energy audit done sometime between 2013 and 2022 as part of Local Law 87.  An energy audit is a comprehensive building survey that identifies both inefficiencies and cost-effective energy improvements.  The audit report provides a roadmap for savings with recommended upgrades and new operational practices.  This is an ideal way for building owners to start the energy efficiency process.  But here's the catch: many owners don't know that LL87 and these incentive programs exist, let alone know enough about their options to pick the right projects and contractors for their needs.  Community based nonprofit groups have proven capacity to successfully promote these programs to their local contacts, but have lacked the incentive, means and expertise.  

 

Community groups can link owners, contractors and government programs

 

Beyond Oil NYC's simple, free program enables community groups to connect resources and overcome these obstacles.  It offers: (1) a standard referral agreement between community groups and energy contractors that will provide participating groups a referral fee of several percent out of the total cost of any completed project that comes from their referrals; (2) sample text about energy projects for constituents; (3) a short list of highly reputable NYC energy consulting firms willing to collaborate with community groups.

 

When community groups with established local reputations reach out to their contacts on behalf of a program, they are likely to get a much higher rate of participation than if the program provider does the outreach itself.  Long Island City Partnership, a Queens nonprofit, found this to be true.  Of the companies it referred to Con Edison's Green Team energy efficiency program, 45% of those that signed up for free surveys went on to buy recommended equipment upgrades, versus 23% of LIC businesses contacted by Con Ed contractors alone (with no community relationships), and a 15% City-wide average rate cited by contractors.  Here's the data.  Other groups have this power - but where's the incentive for groups to use it?

Now add a simple referral agreement.  LICP researched solar installers, signed referral agreements with several of them, and reached out to constituents.  Two solar projects were installed and LICP got two hefty checks.  

  • AMCC, a building construction firm, installed an 11.5 kilowatt (kW) solar PV system and a green roof on its new LEED rated building on Vernon Blvd.  

  • New Sensor Corp. a manufacturer of electronic equipment for the music industry, moved to the 90K s.f. former Budweiser distribution center in Hunters Point in 2011.  Last year, they installed a 50 kW solar photovoltaic power system.  Over two hundred 230 watt panels on their roof will produce over 50,000 kW hours of electricity a year.  New Sensor expects to recover its initial investment in just a few years. “We’re happy with the system,” says Tanya Thomas, assistant to the president.


The program has been improved by adding energy conservation contractors, and is available to all at no charge to help make NYC greener.  This model is suitable for Business Improvement Districts, economic development groups, block associations, faith organizations or anyone else who wants to use it.

 

If even a few of the constituents you refer go ahead with energy conservation and  solar projects, your group can earn respectable referral fees with minimal effort, while generating positive press and educating your community.  For more information contact Dan Miner at beyondoilnyc@yahoo.com.

  • Contact the energy consultants and solar installers below, or others that you feel comfortable with.  Building energy consultants should be able to pay referral fees of 3-5% of the total project cost.  Solar installers should be able to pay fees of 1-3% of the total cost.  Confirm your terms.
  • Following are two sample agreements for your attorney to review and customize for you.  Beyond Oil NYC offers them only for informational purposes and disclaims any liability.    
  • Sign referral agreements with your chosen consultants and installers. 
  • Make a list of your contacts that own or are long-term tenants in commercial buildings, and owners/managers/board members of multifamily residential properties. Buildings must have at least 3,000 square feet of roof space without shade from trees, another building, vents, or rooftop equipment for solar to be a viable option.  Roof space can be initially assessed with Google Maps or the NYC Solar Map. 
  • Customize the sample promotional text, and contact your constituents by postal letter, email and phone.  Refer the ones who are interested to your consultants and installers. 
  • Set up community awareness raising events with Beyond Oil NYC, which will combine a film screening about climate change with discussion about neighborhood options.
  • When installations take place, notify your neighborhood.


 

***

A short list of consultants and installers

More will follow. 

Building Energy Consultants

James Hannah, Bright Power, Inc.
(212) 803-5868 x2106; jhannah@brightpower.com

Frank Lauricella, Daylight Savings Company
(845) 291-1275 x302, flauricella@daylightsavings.us

Solar Installers

James Hannah, Bright Power, Inc.
(212) 803-5868 x2106; jhannah@brightpower.com

Joe Stofega, EnterSolar
(646) 513-3366, jstofega@entersolar.com

Bob Kline, Ross Solar
(917) 216-0438,robert@rosssolargroup.com








Sample promotional text

Customize this for your email, letter or a phone call

***
[Our Organization] Recommends
Energy Upgrades and On-Site
Power Generation for Your Building

[Add an introductory paragraph about your organization]

Energy upgrades will make your building more resilient and save you money

As climate change increases, extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy will be more frequent.  NYC must become more resilient - able to bounce back from disruption.  At the same time, we must also cut carbon emissions as much as possible to slow down climate change.  Conserving energy, using it more efficiently, and getting more of it from clean renewable sources like solar and/or other onsite generation options like cogeneration units will help to ensure that buildings in your community are minimizing utility expenses and are less vulnerable to future grid disruptions. 

As a building owner, you can take advantage of federal, state and local cash incentive programs and tax benefits linked to these initiatives.  Many energy conservation projects will have returns on investment of less than three years, and some pay for themselves in less than a year.  The savings from harvesting the low hanging fruit can subsidize more ambitious projects like solar energy systems that can yield even greater permanent energy cost reductions. 

Start with an energy audit

An energy audit is a comprehensive building survey that
identifies both inefficiencies and cost-effective energy improvements.  The audit report provides a roadmap for savings with recommended upgrades and new operational practices.  Con Ed's free Green Team audits - with 70% discounts on a number of recommended upgrades - are a good place to start for small businesses, retail stores and restaurants.  But for larger commercial and multi-family apartment buildings, it's best to bring in an energy consulting firm that is experienced in analyzing these more complex buildings and procuring incentives through the various programs offered by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Con Edison as well as arranging project financing.

 

Leading NYC energy consultants will have done hundreds of energy audits, which typically identify energy and water cost savings of 15% - to 30+%.  Their staff will look at heating and cooling; lighting; hot water; motors, fans and pumps; air distribution and ventilation; and the building envelope.  They will work with building personnel and occupants and perform a range of tests.  Audit reports will prioritize the measures they recommend for the building according to how quickly they will pay for themselves, with information about the incentive programs that will help pay for them.  These audits are a good financial move for any building.  As part of NYC Local Law 87 of 2009, buildings over 50,000 square feet must carry out energy audits and retro-commissioning every ten years, starting in 2013.  http://www.nyc.gov/html/gbee/html/plan/ll87.shtml

 

We'll refer you to experienced energy consultants

But how do you select from the many energy contractors that are out there? [Our organization] has partnered with Beyond Oil NYC, which has prepared a short list of NYC's top energy contractors.   Are you ready to permanently lower your bills?  We'll connect you with them.
[Add contact names, phone numbers and emails].


The next step: going solar

With prices for solar energy systems dropping and abundant financial incentives for their purchase, solar is a better investment than ever.   
Government incentives and tax breaks for solar energy are better than ever: they will cover about 60 - 90% of the typical solar installation cost!  Owners can finance or lease the rooftop solar energy system so it can be cash flow positive from day one, as they can receive many of the incentives in the first year.  System installers can customize the financing structure for a range of customer preferences so that owners don’t have to invest any cash, but can immediately start saving money on their electricity bills.  The cost of solar panels has recently been reduced, making this an even more attractive deal. There are currently four levels of government grants, tax breaks and incentives available:


A.  NYSERDA Rebate: $1.00/watt, for the first 50,000 watts and $0.60/watt for the next 150,000 watts ($140,000 max). 
B.  Federal Tax Credit: 30% of the net retail cost of the system
C.  Federal Bonus Accelerated Depreciation Benefit 
       (taken over 5 years, 50% in year 1)
D.  NYC Property Tax Rebate: 10% of the cost of the system (taken over 4 years)

Is solar power right for you? [name of organization] will refer you to solar installers with extensive experience in commercial and industrial projects who will provide a free assessment of your facility.  Contact [contact names, phone numbers and emails].


 








Disclaimer: The following agreement is offered for educational purposes only and may not be suitable for your organization.  Beyond Oil NYC takes no responsibility for any use of the following document.  To create a referral agreement with solar installers, please consult an attorney.   

 

REFERRAL COMMISSION AGREEMENT

 

            REFERRAL AGREEMENT dated as of January  _______, 20XX (hereina­fter "Agreement") between [Neighborhood Nonprofit Group]., having an address at 1234 Main Street, Anywhere, NY, NY (hereinafter "Group"), and Solar Energy Installer, Inc, having an address at 150 Canal Street, New York, NY 10014 (hereinafter "Installer").

 

            WHEREBY, Installer is in the business of assisting businesses develop solar energy systems.

 

            Group and Installer hereby agree as follows:

 

            1.  Referrals: Group will refer to Installer certain leads that may benefit from its services. Installer will notify Group if Installer is not interest­ed in pursuing any particular client relation­ship.  If acceptable, Installer will prepare a sales proposal and appropriate authoriza­tion letters to have signed by client.

 

            2.  Referral Commission, Etc.: (a) A referral commission (the "Referral Commission") of three percent (3%) relative to the Installer fee, less a proportionate share of any Sales and Use or equivalent taxes, rebates, and char­ge-backs, will be paid to Group by Installer, with respect to client agreements in effect during the term of this agreement.

 

            Such commis­sion shall be payable by Installer on the twentieth (20th) business day of the month immediately following the month in which Installer has received such invoiced amount. Installer will send to Group copies of all invoices sent to any referral client.  The provisions of this Section 2 shall survive the termination of the Agreement to the extent noted in paragraph 3 (b), below.

           

            3.  Term and Termination of Agreement:  (a) This Agreement shall commence on the date hereof and shall be on an "at will" basis, terminable by either party, upon sixty (60) days prior written notice to the other party hereto.

 

            (b) In the event this Agreement is terminated, Installer and Group shall be released from any further obligations, except for the obligations accrued to the date of termination.  "Obligations accrued" is defined to include any monies or credits earned, pursuant to the agreement between client and Installer.  Notwithstanding the above, termination shall refer only to the introduction of new clients.  Any client developed by Group which Installer begins or continues to service and from which fees are actually received subsequent to the termination of this Agreement shall be commissionable to Group.  In cases where a client is introduced to Installer by Group before termination of this Agreement, but Installer is engaged by such client after termination of this Agreement, Installer shall continue to pay a commission to Group for such client even though the engagement was after termination of this Agreement.

 

            4.  Miscellaneous:  (a) All notices pursuant to this agreement shall be in writing and sufficient if delivered personally or sent by certified or express mail, return receipt requested, postage prepaid or by regular overnight courier.  Any party may by written notice change the address to which notices to such party are to be delivered or mailed.

 

            (b) The services to be performed by Group hereunder are as an indepen­dent contractor and neither Group nor Installer shall have any authority to bind the other in any respec­t. Group is free from Installer's direction and control.  Group shall be wholly responsible for all of its own costs and expenses and overhead, shall maintain its own books and records and pay its own taxes, without withholding by Installer

 

            (c) This agreement and the obligations of Group hereunder may not be assigned by Group.

 

            (d) This agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York, without regard to the principles of conflicts of laws thereof and any action or proceeding shall be brought in the appropriate venue in the State of New York.

 

            (e) In the event that any provision contained in this agreement shall be determined to be invalid, illegal or unenforceable in any respect for any reason, the validity, legality and enforceability of any such provision in every other respect and the remaining provisions of this Agreement shall not, at the election of the party for whose benefit the provision exists, be in any way impaired.

 

            (f) Any waiver of any term or condition, or any amendment or supplementation of this agreement shall be effective only if in writing and signed by the party to be charged.

 

            (g) This agreement may be executed in multiple counterparts, each of which shall be deemed an original.

 

   (h) This agreement contains the entire agreement between Group and Installer with respect to the transactions con­templated by this agreement and super­sedes all prior arrangements or underst­an­dings with respect thereto.


             (i) Group shall have the right to inspect the books and records of Installer to ensure that Group is receiving its appropriate commission.  Installer shall provide a quarterly accounting to Group with respect to clients referred to it by Group. 

           

            IN WITNESS WHEREOF, Group and Installer have executed this agreement as of the date first above written.

 

Neighborhood Nonprofit Group

 

By:__________ ____________________________Date:_____________          

Jane Doe, President                

 

Solar Installer Inc.


By:______________________________Date:_______________            

                             
Richard Roe, President  







Professional Services Agreement for the Development of Solar Systems



PROFESSIONAL SERVICES AGREEMENT dated as of __________________ , 201X (hereina­fter "Agreement") between Solar Installer, having an address at ______________________    (hereinafter "SOLAR INSTALLER"), and NYC Community-Based Nonprofit, having an address at ______________, NY 11101 (hereinafter "NONPROFIT"). 

 

WHEREBY, SOLAR INSTALLER is in the business of assisting clients in the development of solar energy systems, SOLAR INSTALLER and NON-PROFIT hereby agree as follows:

 

1.  Development Rights:  NON-PROFIT grants SOLAR INSTALLER rights as the Solar Developer for solar

projects that arise during the term of this agreement.

 

            2.  Referrals:  NON-PROFIT will refer to SOLAR INSTALLER all leads that may benefit from its services. SOLAR INSTALLER will notify NON-PROFIT if SOLAR INSTALLER is not interest­ed in pursuing any particular client relation­ship.  If acceptable, SOLAR INSTALLER will prepare a sales proposal and appropriate authoriza­tion letters to have signed by client.

 

            3.  Fees:  In exchange for a referral to SOLAR INSTALLER that leads to a successful solar installation, and for a successful customer installation that then lead to additional referrals from the original NON-PROFIT referral:

           

            (a) NON-PROFIT will be eligible for the standard referral commission (the "Referral Commission") of twenty percent (20%) relative to the total project development fee with respect to client agreements in effect during the term of this agreement.  The total standard development fee is stated as fifteen percent (15%) of the project total cost, thus a standard three percent (3%) Referral Commission will apply upon receipt of the full fifteen percent (15%) by SOLAR INSTALLER.  The standard total development fee may be negotiated to a lower rate as business conditions dictate on a project by project basis.  The associated Referral Commission due to NON-PROFIT will lowered accordingly, but will always constitute twenty (20%) of the total development fee invoiced any payment received by SOLAR INSTALLER.  NON-PROFIT will be sent copies of customer invoices when submitted to the customer, and will be notified when customer payments are received within 10 business days after customer payment. NON-PROFIT will be entitled to payment on their percentage as installment payments are received by SOLAR INSTALLER.

           

            (b)  SOLAR INSTALLER will be eligible for the standard development fee (the "Development Commission") of eighty percent (80%) relative to the total project development fee with respect to client agreements in effect during the term of this agreement.  The total standard development fee is stated as fifteen percent (15%) of the project total cost, thus a standard twelve percent (12%) Development Commission will apply.  The standard total development fee may be negotiated to a lower rate as business conditions dictate on a project by project basis. The associated Development Commission due to SOLAR INSTALLER will lower accordingly, but will always constitute eighty percent (80%) of the total development fee invoiced and received by SOLAR INSTALLER.

 

            4.  Payment:  Such Referral Commission shall be payable by SOLAR INSTALLER on the twentieth (20th) business day of the month immediately following the month in which SOLAR INSTALLER has received any invoiced amount. SOLAR INSTALLER will send NON-PROFIT copies of all invoices sent to NON-PROFIT referral clients.  If SOLAR INSTALLER does NOT send NON-PROFIT copies of the customer invoices, and such non-compliance was intentional (and not the result of an administrative error), then NON-PROFIT shall be entitled to triple their standard referral commission. Provisions of this Section shall survive the termination of the Agreement to the extent noted in paragraph 5 (a), below.

           

            5.  Term and Termination of Agreement:  This Agreement shall commence on the date hereof and shall be on an "at will" basis, terminable by either party, upon ninety (90) days prior written notice to the other party hereto.  The agreement term is 365 days, with an automatic renewal unless termination is requested by either party upon a minimum of ninety (90) days written notice.

 

(a) In the event this Agreement is terminated, SOLAR INSTALLER and NON-PROFIT shall be released from any further obligations, except for the obligations accrued to the date of termination.  "Obligations accrued" is defined to include any monies or credits earned, pursuant to the agreement between client and SOLAR INSTALLER.  Notwithstanding the above, termination shall refer only to the introduction of new clients.  Any client developed by NON-PROFIT which SOLAR INSTALLER begins or continues to service and from which fees are actually received subsequent to the termination of this Agreement shall be commissionable to NON-PROFIT.  In cases where a client is introduced to SOLAR INSTALLER by NON-PROFIT before termination of this Agreement, but SOLAR INSTALLER is engaged by such client after termination of this Agreement, SOLAR INSTALLER shall continue to pay a commission to NON-PROFIT for such client even though the engagement was after termination of this Agreement.

 

            6.  Miscellaneous: 

           

            (a) All notices pursuant to this agreement shall be in writing and sufficient if delivered personally or sent by certified or express mail, return receipt requested, postage prepaid or by regular overnight courier.  Any party may by written notice change the address to which notices to such party are to be delivered or mailed.

 

            (b) This agreement shall not preclude SOLAR INSTALLER from undertaking work for or seeking work among business that may be known to NON-PROFIT, without the assistance or involvement of NON-PROFIT. Where such work is obtained independently by SOLAR INSTALLER, or is the result of another referral to SOLAR INSTALLER, no referral fee shall be payable to NON-PROFIT.

           

            (c) The services to be performed by NON-PROFIT or by SOLAR INSTALLER hereunder are as an indepen­dent contractors and neither NON-PROFIT nor SOLAR INSTALLER shall have any authority to bind the other in any respec­t. NON-PROFIT and SOLAR INSTALLER are free from either company’s direction or control.  NON-PROFIT and SOLAR INSTALLER shall be wholly responsible for all of its own costs and expenses and overhead, shall maintain its own books and records and pay its own taxes, without withholding by SOLAR INSTALLER or NON-PROFIT.

 

            (d) This agreement and the obligations of NON-PROFIT hereunder may not be assigned by NON-PROFIT.

 

            (e) This agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York, without regard to the principles of conflicts of laws thereof and any action or proceeding shall be brought in the appropriate venue in the State of New York.

 

            (f) In the event that any provision contained in this agreement shall be determined to be invalid, illegal or unenforceable in any respect for any reason, the validity, legality and enforceability of any such provision in every other respect and the remaining provisions of this Agreement shall not, at the election of the party for whose benefit the provision exists, be in any way impaired.

 

            (g) Any waiver of any term or condition, or any amendment or supplementation of this agreement shall be effective only if in writing and signed by the party to be charged.

 

            (h) This agreement may be executed in multiple counterparts, each of which shall be deemed an original.

 

            (i) This agreement contains the entire agreement between NON-PROFIT and SOLAR INSTALLER with respect to the transactions con­templated by this agreement and super­sedes all prior arrangements or underst­an­dings with respect thereto.

 

(j)  NON-PROFIT shall have the right to inspect the books and records of SOLAR INSTALLER to ensure that NON-PROFIT is receiving its appropriate commission.  Upon request, SOLAR INSTALLER shall provide a quarterly accounting to NON-PROFIT with respect to clients referred to it by NON-PROFIT. 

           

 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, NON-PROFIT and SOLAR INSTALLER have executed this agreement as of the date first above written.

 

 

            Non-Profit

 

 

                        By:_______________________________________   Date:_______________           

                             XXXXX, President               

 

                       

            Solar Installer

 

 

                        By:_______________________________________   Date:_______________            

                              YYYYY, President