The New York City America City Partnership announced on Wednesday that the city’s solar capacity has increased by 800% over the last 6 years.
The target goal of 8.1 MW over 9 years was the original goal mandated by the federally funded Solar America City program, meaning New York finished a full three years early.
To put this into perspective, in 2007, New York had just one megawatt of installed solar power. In the face of red tape and the bureaucratic nightmare of installing more solar power, the DOE designated New York a “Solar America City” and gave it the goal 8.1 MW by 2015, the maximum allowed by the former state-wide cap on net metering. It’s now 2012 and New York has 8.4 MW, with a number of other projects also in the planning stages.
“New York City’s rapid growth in installed solar capacity since its designation as a US DOE Solar America City is significant, but 8.4 MW is just the beginning of what we can achieve,” said Sergej Mahnovski, the Director of Energy Policy in the NYC Mayor’s office.
Turns out this is a very true statement. Coinciding with the announcement of surpassing the goal for installed solar energy, the Mayor’s office designated the neighborhoods of Chelsea and the Lower East Side as the latest in his Solar Empowerment Zones program.
These zones are geographical regions where solar power is most viable to the NYC electrical system and where city solar assistance is allocated along with some incentives.
Residences in these areas stand to pull in 15% in additional incentives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Previous zones such as Greenpoint-Gateway and Downtown Brooklyn have seen solar growth of up to 350%.