CUNY Study Finds Solar Energy Can Help NYC

Solar energy is a viable solution to the city’s energy crisis and could supply more than 10 percent of its power by 2030 if the city, state and federal government work to find new sources of funding and incentives and remove barriers, according to a study by The City University of New York (CUNY).

The report, which is co-authored by Tria Case, Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable Energy at Bronx Community College, is part of CUNY’s Million Solar Roofs Initiative that sets a goal of aiding in the installation of 500 solar roofs in New York City (NYC) by 2010, recommends getting the city to promote a voluntary market for photovoltaic (PV) power similar to the “solar stock exchanges” being implemented in several European cities; exploring funding sources for PV systems on public buildings for New York Power Authority customers; getting the state to offer upfront rebates, performance-based incentives or government-led bulk purchases and more. The recommendations of “New York City’s Solar Energy Future” come at a crucial time: Although the city’s solar market has grown 25 percent to 45 percent since 2002, and although the city has some of the world’s most innovative building-integrated solar-energy installations, the outlook for continued growth is limited. “The city has unique technical barriers that will constrain the market,” Case says. “We need incentives to target big systems on big buildings,” Case added. “If these barriers were removed, the city could install some 6,000 to 8,000 megawatts of photovoltaic systems on rooftops and facades.” “With the right policies,” she adds, “there’s no reason why New York City couldn’t be the world’s solar capital by the middle of the next decade.”
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