Solar energy is more accessible to Americans than ever before. There are federal tax credits, cheaper photovoltaic systems on the market and hefty rebates that make a return on investment more attractive.

Fun fact: New York City's solar map will be similar to San Francisco and Boston, but it will be the largest and take on another role. "The key difference in this map versus others is that we are partnered with Con Edison (the local utility company) on the backend of the map," CUNY's Tria Case said. The tool is unique in that city planners and Con Edison can utilize it to plan, like where best to integrate solar on the grid, which is helpful for planning new substations in the ever-growing city.