With 2,500 solar panels placed on the rooftop of Port Washington-based company Shake-N-Go Fashion, Inc., a leading designer and wholesale distributer of comfortable human and synthetic hair products, the building will now generate 96 percent of the total annual electricity needs of the facility. Shake-N-Go celebrated their 900-kilowatt solar system, which will reduce the release of carbon dioxide emissions by about 770,000 pounds each year, with a ribbon cutting on June 21.
“While our business focuses around fashion and trends, an investment in the environment is not,” said Shake-N-Go CEO James Kim. “It is about commitment. It is about protecting the environment that we are currently borrowing from future generations. And it is our duty to protect it and return it to them.”
The solar project began in December of 2016 when Shake-N-Go began looking into companies until they found Enter Solar, a leading New York-based provider of solar solutions to commercial enterprises. The project began in July of 2017 and was completed in April of 2018. Shake-N-Go Vice President Mike Kim explained that the 900-kilowatt solar system translates to saving more than 44,000 gallons of gasoline per year, one million miles driven for a car and the energy to power more than 54 homes for a year.
“It’s an enduring commitment to the environment,” said Enter Solar director and project developer Steven Englemann. “At times there will be sufficient resources to send excess electricity back into the [PSEG] grid which is critical. The energy can then be used within the grid and Shake-N-Go reimbursed for the energy it provides the grid.”
The solar panel project was made possible in part by funding from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative, which NY-Sun Initiative program manager Max Joel explained was a $1 billion investment to build a self-sustaining solar market in New York State.
“There has been tremendous growth in the sector since 2011 as solar in New York has increased more than 1,000 percent since then and leveraged more than $2.8 billion in private investment,” said Joel. “When we started in 2011, there were a mere 83 megawatts of solar in New York State and our solar capacity has now reached over 1,79.5 megawatts with 80,000 projects completed and there are now more than 12,000 people employed in the state in solar projects and that is just continuing. Currently 939 megawatts of solar projects are currently in the pipeline in New York State.”
Joel further explained that the state is committed to meeting or exceeding their goals of three gigawatts by 2023.
“Going green has been one of our important initiatives since day one,” said Mike Kim. “When we got this building in 2013, all the steel beams sustaining this building were recycled. Our building uses 100 percent LED inside and outside.”
Manhasset architect Norman Nemec was nominated by the American Institute of Architects in 2013 for new commercial office building design and sustainable design for the Shake-N-Go building. According to an article in the May 31, 2012, issue of Manhasset Press, Nemec designed the building to be sustainable in other aspects including the consolidation of freight operations with UPS so a minimum number of trucks would use local roads and the sparing of about one acre of natural woodlands from being turned into a parking lot because most of Shake-N-Go’s employees would carpool or share a van service.
Shake-N-Go has also proven their commitment to sustainability in the community as they previously utilizied funds to purchase and plant seven Leyland Cypress trees at the Mill Pond Acres, as reported in 2012. The company also plants 6,000 tulips each year, having created an award-winning garden in the past. The company’s 91 percent efficiency for the office buildings coupled with their other green initiatives earned Shake-N-Go recognition of June 28 as Shake-N-Go Day in the Village of Port Washington North by Mayor Bob Weitzner in 2013.