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Sustainable CUNY

Unified Permit to Ease Solar Adoption in NY
Community Implementation Incentives Available

The New York State Unified Solar Permit developed under the NY-Sun Initiative, is now available.NYSERDA Media Release Supported by NYSERDA and NYPA, CUNY's NYSolar Smart program surveyed municipal officials across New York State to understand their photovoltaic (PV) permitting costs, procedures and issues, as well as to develop the permit. Municipalities that adopt the unified permit and procedures are eligible for between $2,500 and $5,000, depending on population, through the New York State  Cleaner, Greener Communities program to implement the new procedures. A presentation detailing the permit and the incentives can be viewed at NYSolar Smart. NYSolar Smart is a Federal and State supported collaborative effort led by Sustainable CUNY designed to reduce the soft costs of installing solar throughout New York. If you have any questions, please contact the NYS Solar Ombudsmen.  

Huge Appetite for Solar in the Big Apple
Queens is the 'Queen of Solar' in NYC

New Yorkers added 5.3 megawatts of solar in the City in the first half of 2013 alone. Not out in a field, not in the desert, but rooftop by rooftop at America's load center. At the end of 2012, the cumulative solar power in NYC amounted to 14 MW. Now the City has nearly 20 MW installed, a 75% growth in six months, with Con Edison reporting an additional 300 applications currently in the queue. The breakdown of installed capacity by borough through the second quarter of 2013 looks like this
  • Bronx:115 Installs + 3,134 kw
  • Brooklyn: 242 installs + 5,523 kw
  • Manhattan: 95 Installs + 1,819 kw
  • Queens: 335 Installs + 7,318 kw
  • Staten Island:114 Installs + 1,522 kw

Factors that contributed to the growth include the ongoing efforts of CUNY, the Mayor's Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability, Con Edison, NYC Economic Development Corporation, and the NYC Department of Buildings to streamline the process of installing solar in NYC, the NYC Property Tax Abatement and incentives through the Governor's NY-Sun Initiative administered by NYSERDA and NYPA.  


Recent modifications to NYSERDA's incentive program including the availability of direct incentives for commercial systems larger than 50 kW up to 200 kW and raising the minimum project size for the competitive bid solar program to systems above 200 kW up to 2 megawatts are expected to keep growth on an upward trajectory. In addition, NYSERDA has implemented a temporary incentive to allow for capacity additions up to the new 200 kW maximum size in the commercial systems program, and increased the residential size cap from 7kW to 25 kW.  For more information on incentives see NYSERDA PON 2112 and NYSERDA PON 2589


If you are interested in seeing your solar potential or adding your NYC solar installation to the largest solar map in the world, please visit the NYC Solar Map.
Resilient Technology Steps Up in NYC
CUNY Conducts 1st NYC Resilient Inverter Workshop

Where to get power- even enough power to simply charge a phone, tablet or computer became a prime concern for many in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the second major storm to seriously compromise NYC's grid in less then two years. Some New Yorkers left town if they could, others huddled in the dark, while many took shelter at CUNY, which serves as one of NYC's prime partners in its coastal storm shelter operations. The solar power generated on City rooftops went unused. Solar installations in urban areas are generally 'grid-tied' and designed to shut down when the grid fails so as not to feed power onto power lines that are under repair. However, new technology and designs are available that re-route the power captured on our rooftops by solar and other distributed generation, allowing these resources to contribute during emergencies. CUNY's Smart DG Hub convened NYC's first Resilient Inverter Workshop in June, bringing in five of the top inverter companies to present to NYC solar installers and stakeholders new- or new to New York- technologies that will ideally help create a more resilient New York City. Resilient Inverter Presentations
NY Energy Czar, DOE, Utility Leaders Focus on Solar at NYC Solar Summit
Solar Growth Poised to Add Resiliency to the Grid

At the 7th annual NYC Solar Summit the City University of New York (CUNY) convened New York's power leaders to discuss market growth strategies and the role solar can play in emergencies, grid resiliency and demand response. In 2012, the NYC solar market grew by 85% over the previous year and is projected to continue on a rapid upward trajectory based on the significant number of new PV applications that were filed so far in 2013. As the megawatts of power supplied by solar rapidly scales up across New York and the country, the ability to make a positive impact in America's energy mix has become real, as evidenced by the gathering of NY's utilities with the Governor's energy leaders for a frank discussion on major commitments to support solar growth. Media Release
NYC Solar Hot Water Roadmap Released
Solar Thermal Plan Aims to Follows Path of Solar PV

The NYC Solar Water Heating Roadmap establishes a strategic plan for the future growth of a solar thermal market in the city. Through this report, CUNY worked with the NYC Solar Thermal Roundtable of industry stakeholders and partners to actively address barriers, devise strategies for leveraging potential opportunities, as well as design useful tools to support market growth. Findings from the New York City Economic Development Corporation Solar Thermal pilot program helped inform the NYC Solar Water Heating Roadmap. The roadmap lays out policy and program recommendations designed to drive forward the solar heating market and also address key New York City clean energy and GHG emission reduction goals. The full report can be downloaded from the Sustainable CUNY website
Help Wanted
NYC Solar Ombudsman/ NYS Solar Coordinator

Over the last seven years, CUNY has been working to identify and remove barriers to solar photovoltaics (PV) in New York City and now New York State. Primarily supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA), CUNY is leading NYC and New York State (NYS) efforts to reduce non-hardware balance of system costs for PV. Details and application link.

CUNY Releases Rooftop Challenge Reports
Collaborative Effort Removes Barriers

CUNY, on behalf of NYC, won an U.S. Department of Energy SunShot award, 'Rooftop Solar Challenge 1', in early 2012. The SunShot initiative is a national collaborative effort to make solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of electricity by the end of the decade. The Rooftop Challenge focuses on the non-hardware, 'balance of systems' costs associated with solar energy systems which represent as much as 40% of the total installed system price. CUNY works with over 30 organizations to utilize strategic 'working groups' to streamline the NYC permitting and interconnection processes; identify and implement improvements to interconnection and net metering standards; design and implement financing programs and policies and remove zoning obstacles. Collaborative efforts to reduce the barriers to installing solar in NYC are ongoing, with the progress to-date and recommendations for next steps outlined in two reports now available online;  Solar Planning and Zoning Implementation Guide, Net Metering and Interconnection Survey.