Solar power is not the first energy type that leaps to mind when we think of New York City. But the Big Apple is starting to assess more seriously the potential of solar power to transform the world’s capital into a solar-powered metropolis.
“Important things are happening here”, said David Bragdon, head of New York City’s sustainability office, during a recent solar power conference in the city.
According to a CNN report, one of the steps being taken to assess New York’s solar power potential is a map of the city to gauge rooftop solar availability in the area. There’s also a plan to put solar farms on old landfills. Besides, the city is looking at adding to existing fiscal incentives and eliminating red tape related to solar projects.
As a crowded city, New York has a lot of rooftop space, 80% of which is suitable for solar panels. If they were used for solar power, then half of the city’s electricity demand could be met with this type of energy, experts say.
The drive towards solar power is part of a bigger picture. New York State has a mandate to be powered with 30% alternative energy by 2030. Solar could be a big part of that. Right now it accounts for a very small part, or six megawatts, while the city can guzzle 13,000 megawatts at peak times. But that may be about to change.
See how New York City’s subway system is saving money and 84 tons of carbon dioxide per year by using solar power to heat the water that cleans it trains at the Cone Island maintenance facility.
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.