New York has the potential to become a solar powerhouse. A new mapping tool released released today by the Sustainable CUNY (City University of New York) program shows that nearly two-thirds of the City's power could be generated from capturing the sun's rays in the summer. But a critical element remains absent in reaching this awesome potential: long-term solar policy that shows New York is committed to a solar energy future. The New York Solar Jobs Act of 2011 will get New York on track to reach its solar potential while adding over 40,000 new jobs to the state with over $50 billion in new economic investment. But its our next generation, the "Solar Generation" -- some of them pictured in the winning entries of our Times Square photo contest, who will benefit the most.
The New York City Solar Map
The NYC Solar Map tool is a living manifest of what can be achieved by a laser-focused (pun intended) public-private partnership, creatively leveraging and combining cost-effective information technology tools for the good of our economy and environment. The map deserves much praise for not only its broad scope and pin-point resolution, but for the user interface ease-of-use and helpfulness in helping one decide whether rooftop solar is the right investment to make. Every building within NYC limits can be scoped for three important qualities: (1) the "technical" solar potential, (2) the City agency permitting and utility 'interconnection' pathway you'll need to follow, and (3) the essential financial criteria -- available incentives and 'break-even' point. Fun fact: the LIDAR data collection method used to develop the map is accurate to the nearest 7.5 cm (in all three "x, y, z" dimensions!). That's precision down to the size of a coffee mug!
(photo credit: Sustainable CUNY NYC Solar Map)
Mireya Navarro of The New York Times provided a thorough overview of the Solar Map tool and its development in today's print edition:
Two-thirds of New York City’s rooftops are suitable for solar panels and could jointly generate enough energy to meet half the city’s demand for electricity at peak periods, according to a new, highly detailed interactive map to be made public on Thursday.
Winners Selected for the CBS Superscreen Billboard Solar Photo Contest
In addition to today's official release of the NYC solar map, NYT's Navarro also reported on the winners of our Times Square "CBS Superscreen" billboard photo contest, which aired for the first time today and will stay up through July 5th. Congratulations to Solar Rainbow and Sustainable Flatbush!
The Final Decision Nears for the New York State Solar Jobs Act of 2011
With only three days left on the official NY State legislative calendar, the fate of the New York Solar Jobs Act of 2011 hangs in the balance.
There are a lot of bills out there that we have been told are dead. This isn't one of them. 40,000 new jobs and billions of dollars in economic benefits, it is a bi-partisan package that everyone wants to get done. It's just a matter of time at this point.
The pieces are in place, the support is there, it'll just take a demonstration of leadership from lawmakers to pass the bill.