CITY New York City

Legal Ordinance for Solar-Powered Buildings

New York City’s government agencies are now legally required to assess potential solar PV retrofits at all municipal buildings.

In 2016, New York City passed a law requiring local government agencies to assess all city-owned rooftops for solar photovoltaic (PV) potential, in order to support the city’s goal to install 100 MW of solar PV on municipal property by 2025. Agencies must report on factors including the potential reduction in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, the financing of the project, and whether buildings’ rooftops are suitable for a solar installation. In keeping track of the projects, the city will also take into consideration the financial savings accruing from CO2 emissions reductions in order to better reflect the value of the retrofits.

To date, the city has installed 8.8 MW of solar PV across 52 municipal buildings. Informed by the government agencies’ evaluations, New York City plans to develop a strategy to expand the initiative to 4,000 city-owned buildings, which include schools, hospitals, libraries, courthouses, firehouses, offices, police precincts, wastewater treatment plants, and recreation centers, and which will help the city reach its goal to reduce city-wide greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050.

Co-Benefits

Environmental

Energy storage is coupled with solar PV in flood-prone areas in order to prepare for power loss or urgent need for additional electricity.

Social

Solar installations at schools are paired with a renewable energy educational curriculum in classrooms.

Economic

The city’s initiative will create 160 jobs in the renewable energy sector by 2025.