New York City certainly has one of the densest arrays of rooftops in the country. This opportunity did not escape Cooper Square Realty and Solar Energy Systems LLC when they decided to install a photovoltaic array atop the Kips Bay Towers, which is home to approximately 4,000 people.

Located in Manhattan between 30th and 33rd Streets, the south tower was completed in 1960 and the north tower in 1966. This architectural landmark was one of the first major projects designed by I.M. Pei, who went on to design the Pyramide du Louvre, the East Building of the National Gallery of Art and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, among other famous structures.

With the installation of the 54.28 kilowatt rooftop photovoltaic system, Kips Bay Towers became the largest residential solar power system in New York City.

“Installing solar panels on the bulkhead of a 20-story building in the middle of Manhattan presents an obvious physical challenge. From an electrical standpoint, older New York buildings can offer a variety of infrastructure challenges as well,” said David Buckner, Solar Energy Systems’ president. “Fortunately, we overcame that at Kips Bay by finding a code-compliant interconnection point up at the top instead of in the basement.”

Through a New York State solar electric incentive program, the project received a rebate that covered nearly 50 percent of the cost. In addition to the annual energy savings by earning net- metering credits for the solar electricity from Con Edison, the property benefited from federal and state tax credits and a New York City property tax abatement.

With another unique feature to an already unique building, the condo owners at Kips Bay Towers now play a part in clean generation that improves their environment.