The Green Spotlight on BE NYC: Scott Schultz
September 6, 2013Countdown to BE NYC! With onlydays until the conference, GreenHomeNYC is shining the spotlight on the experts who will be making the BE NYC an exceptional industry event! One of the professionals participating in the conference is Scott Schultz. Scott Schultz is the Business Development Director for Advanced Solar Products; a solar energy design company based in New Jersey, and has been involved in the solar industry for over ten years. His environmental roots go back to 1972 as a co-founder for Long Island’s “Save our Bays” which was instrumental in building the first Tertiary Water Treatment Plant in NY State. Trained by the Center for Sustainable Energy in New York, Scott has been designing and installing Solar PV Systems in the New York and New Jersey area for the past 12 years. He is an active member of US Green Building Council (USGBC), Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), New York Solar Energy Society (NYSES), plus many more, and was the former Policy Chair for the Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association (MSEIA)
Scott is a co-chair for the Renewable & Resilience Track at BE NYCHow did you become focused on renewable energy? I have always been an advocate for environmental causes. In 1972 when I was living in Nassau County, there were plans to put in a water treatment plant that would dump sewage into the bay where I had spent my summers. Some friends and I started the advocacy group “Save our Bays” and we convinced Nassau County to build a water treatment plant that would dump it 15 miles off shore. Now those waters have started to come back over the years. That accomplishment got me charged up and involved in advocacy work for a lifetime. Later on, a friend that was involved in solar wanted me to help out, but in order to help, I knew I had to learn as much as possible about it. I learned how to install solar through the Center for Sustainable Energy in New York and it has evolved from there. What has been your experience with solar energy in New York City? It is a difficult market for solar, just by the nature of bureaucracy. The permit process can be very daunting and the cost of doing business is higher than in the surrounding areas. There is also a space constraint, which can be seen as a positive challenge. You must constantly ask yourself what can be done to maximize the solar output. We did a project where the only place to put the solar was on car canopy’s, but they were able to offset 90% of their power. Churches and schools are also great places for solar, and we’re working with the group Global Green on emergency back-up systems. What would motivate a building owner to want to incorporate solar onto their building? Cost savings are a big part of it- the peak time of the day when you are paying the most for your power, is also the same time when solar peaks. It can have a very significant cost reduction for building owners. Of course there are also rebates available from NYSERDA and other programs that can be taken advantage of to bring down the cost of installation, and as time goes on hopefully the technology costs will continue to decrease to make it more affordable to install. Why should conference members attend your track? It should be a good networking opportunity. As building owners hear what is going on in the solar industry, and how it can be applicable to them, they can get guidance as to what their next steps should be. Also for those already doing it, they can see how others in the industry are getting over obstacles like the permitting issues. What can a conference member expect to learn by attending your track? People have heard a lot about solar, but they’re still not really sure what to think about it. Even though it’s not going to be a beginner program, people who are new to the field are going to be able to learn about multi-family, commercial, not-for-profit, school and municipal opportunities. There will be a lot of sharing of information. People will also find out just how economically viable solar can be, between incentives and tax credits or with third party suppliers, and that just about anybody can do it. We’re hoping that the net metering rules will be modified so that communities that couldn’t do solar before can now reap the benefits. The promise of distributed generation can bring much more mileage out of a solar system. What are your past experiences with presenting at industry conferences and what do you like about them? I have done sessions for BuildingEnergy 13 (NESEA), NJ Futures, Business and Industry Association (NJBIA) and local programs for different groups such as Enterprise Community Group. I’m always speaking all over the place, trying to help get the word out about solar advocacy. There’s a big myth out there that solar is too expensive, but for every dollar invested in solar, there’s $1.75 worth of benefit. It’s a societal benefit, and energy prices have decreased in certain markets. I think it’s just a question of helping to educate people as the boom continues. This is why BE NYC is a great vehicle for getting that word out. What are you most excited to see and learn at BE NYC? I’m interested to learn about some of the other technologies and especially hearing more about backup generation. Also, what’s going on energy efficiency breakthroughs and building envelope innovations that are being done. I am looking forward to the great opportunity to network with my peers and interested prospects in this marketplace. Interested in learning more from Scott Schultz? Look for him at the Renewable & Resilience track at BE NYC. CLICK HERE to register for BE NYC. For more information on workshop sessions, sponsoring and exhibiting at BE NYC, CLICK HERE. Interview conducted by Theresa Heller To know more about The Green Spotlight, CLICK HERE!