Port Chester solar company hopes to expand with state prize


A small Port Chester-based solar energy company is in the running to receive up to $1 million in state money to help expand.

SunTegra, which builds environmentally-friendly solar roofing panels, has made it to the final round of the state-run 76West Clean Energy Competition.

“We’re looking to expand and we’re looking to do it economically,” said Larchmont resident Oliver Koehler, founder and CEO of the company. “The money could offer us an opportunity to grow elsewhere in New York.”

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Oliver Koehler, CEO and founder of SunTegra, talks about the state competition his solar roofing company is competing in Aug. 8, 2017 in his office in Port Chester.
Tania Savayan/lohud

 

Administered by the state Energy Research Development Authority, or NYSERDA, the competition offers six separate awards totaling $2.5 million. Eight finalists from around the state were announced last month by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

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The competition, part of Cuomo’s $3.1 billion “Southern Tier Soaring” investment plan for the upstate region, requires companies to either move to or establish a connection with the area.

Koehler hopes to expand the company’s footprint around the state while possibly maintaining its Port Chester headquarters at 169 Westchester Ave.

“We’ve found that Port Chester is a great, funky place,” Koehler said. “It has relatively lower rents than surrounding areas and there’s a really interesting diversity of companies here, there’s an entrepreneurial mentality.”

The company, which is the only finalist from the Lower Hudson Valley, builds solar-equipped roofing tiles for residential homes and commercial businesses.

Started in Koehler’s Larchmont basement in 2013, SunTegra is small — just four employees in a 1,200 square-foot office, with manufacturing handled offsite. The company sells about 4,000 solar panels a year and annual revenue remains under $1 million, Koehler said.

But as New York’s solar energy market continues booming, Koehler is looking to expand. In recent years, New York has emerged as one of the country’s fastest growing markets for sun-based power.

“We’ve looked high and low for support, so we’re excited,” he said.

This is the second year of the 76West competition which will run yearly until 2019, with applicants vying for a $1 million grand prize, a $500,000 award, and four $250,000 awards. Winners will be selected in August. 

Twitter: @GabrielRom1

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8 August 2017 7:52 pm
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