Initially formed in 2006 as part of an earlier Department of Energy effort, the City University of New York, the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and New York City Economic Development Authority, the NYC Solar Partnership charted the barriers and then the solutions to wide-scale solar growth in collaboration with numerous stakeholders, including all relevant city agencies. This platform enabled New York City to systematically address and eventually check off the requirements in the SolSmart application that led to a Gold Designation.
The NYC Solar Partnership offers various tools and programs to support solar investment throughout the City. The New York Solar Map and Portalallows prospective customers to see the solar potential of their own rooftops, provides them with detailed breakdowns of the value proposition, and allows them to request quotes from installers. Solarize NYC and Shared Solar NYC are the Partnership’s flagship programs, which seek to enhance access to solar energy for New York City communities that have historically lacked access, either through community-led group purchasing of rooftop PV (Solarize NYC) or coordination of prospective community shared solar developers, host sites, and subscribers (Shared Solar NYC).
The City of New York also integrates solar outreach into its building retrofit assistance programs, the NYC Retrofit Accelerator and Community Retrofit NYC. These programs help private building owners and decision-makers to complete retrofit projects by offering free, personalized advisory services that streamline the energy and water retrofit process to reduce building operating costs, enhance tenant comfort, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The NYC Retrofit Accelerator provides technical guidance that is primarily geared for large buildings subject to local building energy laws, while Community Retrofit NYC targets resources to small- and medium-sized buildings in particular geographic areas in Central and Northern Brooklyn and Southern Queens to reduce energy cost burdens, preserve affordable housing, and improve the environment.
New York City was one of the initial Solar America Cities and has a considerable track record of partnership with the Department of Energy to develop the solar market in New York City. Sustainable CUNY, which has led the NYC Solar Partnership since 2005, spearheaded New York City’s certification as a Solar America City and has been a grantee under DOE’s Rooftop Solar Challenge and Rooftop Solar Challenge II programs.