Many people doubt that cities can harness a lot of Solar Power owing to the shading and other distribution factors. Putting these doubts to rest is a recent report that says, nearly 80% of the one million rooftops in New York City are suitable for solar power. Imagine that. A city of high rises and you would think it would have a lot of shading for Solar to be successful. Sadly, or happily, your assumption would be false.
If every one of those roofs had solar panels, when the sun shines the brightest the city could get half its electricity from solar power.
New York has a long way to go before becoming that solar utopia. The city currently gets only a tiny fraction of its power from solar. And until there’s a good way to store the electricity generated during the day and release it at night, solar will likely continue to make up a modest part of the city’s overall energy mix.
But even a small amount of solar can help the city in big ways. It can reduce the overall stress on the electric grid, eliminating the need to build expensive new transformers or lay underground transmission wire.
During hot days when air conditioning is working overtime, it can reduce the chance of a blackout and cut the need to fire up older, dirtier generators.
A new hyper-accurate map of the city that is designed to gauge solar’s potential building-by-building. A plan to put solar farms on top of old landfills. New financial incentives that add to existing city, state and federal subsidies. And an overall streamlining of the solar power permitting bureaucracy.
These measures, combined with a mandate that requires 30% of the state’s power to come from renewable sources by 2015, are driving the development of solar.
In addition to reducing current demand on the grid, the idea behind solar subsidies and mandates is to foster a stable and growing market for the technology. That way, the private sector will put the time and money into solar research, and perhaps one day it can meet a big chunk of New York’s power needs.
He said solar does make the grid stronger, can prevent blackouts and keeps the utility from having to make expensive upgrades.