Designation Level: SolSmart Gold
Year Designated: 2017
- Created a streamlined process to approve certain solar permit applications over the counter
- Created and shared an interactive solar map of the community called NY Solar Map
- Integrated a 100kW solar PV array and 720kWh battery bank at the Brooklyn Army Terminal to demonstrate the benefits of solar plus storage (smart grids)
- Developed feasiblity analysis with NREL for resilient solar technologies for critical facilities including a school, fire station, and senior center
With the help of the City University of New York (CUNY), New York City has not only achieved a SolSmart Gold designation but has also made solar energy more accessible for millions of New Yorkers.
- Created an online permitting checklist, increasing transparency for community members and solar installers
- Reviewed local zoning codes and identified restrictions that intentionally or unintentionally prohibit solar PV development
- Allowed solar by-right accessory use in all zones (so solar installations don’t require special permits or hearings)
- Cross-trained both inspection and permitting staff on solar PV
- Provided a streamlined permitting pathway for small PV systems
The SolSmart Gold designation recognizes that New York City is a great place for solar companies to do business. When we entered the city’s solar market in 2002, we identified plenty of barriers, including unruly regulations, high system costs, and a lack of customer awareness. We have worked with the City University of New York and other installers and advocacy groups over the years to identify and erase many of the hurdles related to permitting, interconnection, and customer uptake. Today, New York City is one of the largest, most advanced solar markets in the country.
- David Buckner, President of Solar Energy Systems, LLC