Dim results for city solar energy goals

New York’s solar power grid is not going up fast enough for some lawmakers.

New York City is lagging behind the rest of the nation when it comes to solar energy, council members said yesterday. 

Despite Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s vow to install more solar panels on rooftops, outlined in his PlaNYC, the number of panels in the Big Apple compose only 3 percent of the nation’s total, according to testimony.

Steve Englebright, a Long Island assemblyman, said the city lags behind New Jersey, which created more megawatts in solar power in 2010 alone — 137 megawatts — than New York has total.

“We have fallen short,” he said. “We are actually in a position of having to catch up at this point.”
Councilman James Gennaro said New York needs to speed up adding solar panels to building tops, especially since the city is “the rooftop capital of the state,” he said.

But creating solar energy can be expensive — a city Department of Buildings spokesman testified that outfitting a regular brownstone with panels might cost as much as $50,000 for the labor and permits required.

The city provides a rebate to reimburse 20 percent of the installation fee, but council members said more incentives would help ease the expense for New Yorkers.

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro.


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