A brighter future: three solar zones created in NYC

June 23, 2010

On June 8, Mayor Bloomberg and Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri, in conjunction with Sustainable CUNY, announced the creation of three Solar Empowerment Zones in the City. The zones have excellent potential for solar power. Being inside one of the zones gives technical assistance, and streamlined paperwork for getting solar installations authorized. They are:

  • The East Shore of Staten Island
  • Downtown Brooklyn
  • The Greenpoint-Gateway section of Brooklyn

Maps are available from Sustainable CUNY.

The Zones were selected by the Solar America City Partnership and representatives from  the City, CONED, the New York Department of Public Service, NYSERDA, and the New York Power Authority.  The Zones feature sufficient solar energy production capabilities, sufficient rooftop space, and importantly, are in need of capacity upgrades or demand reduction measures to meet expected load growth.  More zones will be selected in the future.

The program’s objectives (from Sustainable CUNY):

Technical Assistance – Three solar ombudsman will offer technical assistance to building owners and operators who are considering solar power.
Incentives Assistance – Ombudsman will provide guidance navigating through the City, State & Federal incentive programs & paperwork that help make systems more affordable.
Data Monitoring Systems – Free data monitoring devices will be installed on systems in the Zones to communicate with the utility grid and inform you of system performance.
Streamlined Permitting – The Partnership is working with permitting agencies, Con Edison, and NYSERDA to create a more streamlined and uniform permitting process.
Education – Outreach programs for organizations and businesses in the zones on energy efficiency and how to go solar.
Strategic Opportunities – The Partnership will target opportunities in the Zones and assist in developing applications for state Renewable Portfolio Standard funding.

The NYC Solar America City Partnership is a collaboration of CUNY, the NYCEDC, and the Mayor’s Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability.  The Partnership is utilizing funds from the US Department of Energy.   More detailed information should be forthcoming from the City.

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