Solar Empowerment Zones
In 2010, the New York City Solar America City Partnership announced three Solar Empowerment Zones, with two new Zones added in the spring of 2012. The Zones are areas where installing solar energy systems will provide the greatest benefits to New Yorkers and our electric distribution system. Home and building owners in the Solar Empowerment Zones who are interested in solar are encouraged to submit our Solar Inquiry Form to learn about special benefits available in the Zones and to access support from the Solar America City Team. Home and building owners in these areas may be eligible for free data acquisition systems among other benefits.
The NYC Solar America City Partnership employs three solar Ombudsmen dedicated to supporting the implementation of solar in NYC. Through relationships with the Department of Buildings, NYSERDA, Con Edison and other players in the solar market, the Solar America City Partnership team is able to assist with inquiries related to permitting, incentive applications, grid interconnection, and market analysis.
Solar Empowerment Zone Benefits
- Data Acquisition Systems Free data monitoring devices are available for installation on systems in the Zones to communicate with the utility grid and inform you of system performance.
- Technical Assistance Three solar ombudsmen will offer technical assistance to building owners and operators who are considering solar power.
- Incentives Assistance Ombudsmen will provide guidance navigating through the City, State, and Federal incentive programs and paperwork that help make systems more affordable.
- Streamlined Permitting The Partnership is working with permitting agencies, Con Edison, and NYSERDA to create a more streamlined and uniform permitting process.
- Strategic Opportunities The Partnership will target opportunities in the Zones and assist in developing applications for state Renewable Portfolio Standard funding.
These Zones are a step towards building the solar pipeline, a critical part of a clean energy infrastructure that can help America’s largest City achieve an independent energy future.
Solar Empowerment Zone Background
The NYC Solar Empowerment Zones are strategically selected geographical regions where solar power is most viable and beneficial from a technical standpoint, and where the Solar America City Partnership will focus its outreach and program development.
An advisory group consisting of representatives from several NYC agencies, Consolidated Edison, the New York Department of Public Service, NYSERDA, and the New York Power Authority undertook a rigorous assessment process to select the Solar Empowerment Zones.
Each of the five zones has a “day-peaking” energy usage profile that conforms closely to solar production. The five zones are also in need of capacity upgrades and/or demand reduction measures over the next few years in order to meet expected load growth. Finally, each of the zones has a significant amount of rooftop square footage to accommodate solar installations.
Targeted solar power development in the five Zones could play a critical role in reducing peak demand while also potentially deferring or eliminating the need for costly upgrades to the electrical system that would increase electricity rates.