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The Growth of Solar Power in New York

03 Oct 13:00 by Steve Walia

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Solar energy adoption in New York seems to finally be making progress. Across each of the five boroughs, over 5,300 solar projects have been progressed this year - from a figure of just 186 only five years ago, according to state figures. There are also another 1,900 projects waiting in the pipeline, covering both domestic and commercial installations.

The boom has been led by a sizeable drop in the cost of installing solar power in recent years - up to 70pc compared to earlier prices - as the technology consolidates and refines, bringing economies of scale and lower prices. Supporting this, the government has implemented incentives and more streamlined approvals to encourage citizens to invest in the technology.

Now the cost of installing a solar PV system on a standard one-family house stands at $20,000-$50,000. However, with city, state and federal tax credits and other incentives in place, this cost can be slashed by up to 50pc. Additionally, once the system is in place, the owner's energy bills can plummet by up to 85pc.

Staten Island is the main location for existing solar projects, but increasing numbers of townhouse dwellers in Brooklyn are now getting in on the act, and apartment buildings in Queens and the Bronx are also starting to see panels installed.

The solar industry itself is surging in New York too. The city's own official figures show that there are now 55 solar energy companies operating in the city, compared to just five in 2005. This also translates into skilled roles for 2,700 city workers.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is lobbying to set a target for the state of 50pc renewable energy by 2030. Meanwhile, Bill de Blasio, the mayor, wants to see damaging greenhouse gas emissions in New York drop by 80pc by 2050.