How Many New Yorkers Does It Take to Lay a Solar Panel?

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Response: "How many were written into the contract?"

Created by reporter Mary Plummer and recently posted on the On Earth Magazine website, this video chronicles the 'grim' situation recently faced by the IKEA store in the neighborhood of Red Hook in Brooklyn, NY:


There's a lot of pent-up demand from residents and businesses in New York wanting to go solar.  There's also a big opportunity to create local jobs by helping the New York solar industry grow. Unfortunately the structure of today's market fails to meet customer demand and thus diminishes the opportunity to grow a robust solar industry. 

One of the directional goals mentioned in the video is getting an application through the process in 100 days or less, which is about a quarter of the time it currently takes (roughly 1 year).  How will this be possible?

I am confident that this goal of 100 days or less will be achieved through the efforts led by the City University of New York's (CUNY) Solar America City program (SAC).  The SAC program directors represented by NYC government, CUNY, and the city's primary electric utility provider, Con Edison, are forging ahead to dissolve the most pressing solar development barriers--many of which are unique to the very dense and historic urban environment that constitutes much of the City. 

The graphic above was from a recently held SAC seminar to address the most common issues faced by solar professionals working in NYC.  More specifically, the dialogue focused on the following issues:

  • Redundant and cumbersome application process
  • Tax abatement process
  • NYSERDA rebate turnaround time
  • Lack of long-term incentive certainty/low incentive caps (*see my post from last June on the New York State Industry Development and Jobs Bill)
  • NRTL (UL Inspection Requirement)
  • FDNY Fire Code
  • Solar not a permitted obstruction

Beyond providing opportunities for open dialogue among stakeholders, the SAC program is taking further initiative by hiring three new "solar ombudsmen" to each intensively work in three newly created "solar empowerment zones" (pictured below) to provide a variety of technical and application services to get to the goal of flipping the switch in "100 days or less".

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We will continue to advise and assist the SAC program as it moves ahead in creating a 'brighter' solar opportunity for all. 

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