MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – The Finkelstein brothers, proprietors of Mount Kisco Truck & Auto Parts, will save a load of money on their business’s utility costs this year, and all they had to do was look to the sun.
Peter and Steve Finkelstein saved on costs powering their Kisco Avenue warehouse thanks to the 40 kilowatts of solar generating panels they installed on the roof in April.
In fact, what made the solar energy panels, or photovoltaic panels, attractive to the Finkelsteins in the first place, besides that the energy is clean and renewable, were the hefty incentives offered by the government.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority paid $73,000 toward the $194,000 cost of the panels. The business, which sells auto and truck parts to fleets, repair shops and individuals, will also get $36,000 in federal tax credits, reducing their costs to $85,000.
“It’s been a great investment from a business standpoint,” Steve Finkelstein said. In 1990, the brothers took over the business, which was started by their grandfather Joseph in 1916.
Another money-saving perk is net metering, which allows the Finkelsteins, as Consolidated Edison customers, to sell excess power from their solar panels back to the company through a rolling credit on their bills.
Contrary to what many may think, utility companies encourage customers to generate their own electricity, said Con Edison spokesperson Allan Drury.
“When customers switch to solar, it takes demand off our electrical-delivery system at peak times,” Drury said, such as during summer heat waves when air conditioners are being used.
Lowering demand on the system during those heat waves helps utility companies avoid expensive upgrades to their systems, thus keeping rates down.
With depreciation and savings on electric bills, the Finkelsteins' business will get a payback on its investment in less than five years, according to Con Edison, which has worked with its customers in Westchester to set up 340 solar installations so far.
“When we considered how quickly the payback would come, this just made sense to us,” Peter Finkelstein said. “We’ve been in business for nearly 100 years, and we plan on being here for a long time.”
Those interested in learning more about installing solar panels can go to www.coned.com/dg/solarenergy.