New York Is Ready For Solar Power
Originally, I had intended to discuss generally the need for renewable energy and where New York City and the State are currently at. However, the New York Times this week posed the question “Is New York Ready for Solar Power?” Unequivocally, the answer is yes.
As the article discusses, the costs of installing solar panels have drastically dropped in recent years, and federal, state and city incentives reduce the costs associated with installation even further. These incentives make the question of going solar a no-brainer. Solar energy reduces energy costs for residents and helps lessen the long-term costs associated with the use of fossil fuels, such as increasing health and environmental problems.
If New York is ready for solar, the question then becomes why is the state not switching over to solar as rapidly as it should? There are a few reasons, many of which will continue to be explored in the coming weeks. For now, we’ll focus on the most obvious: City Regulation.
The New York City Fire Department limits the space that can be used for solar panels as a public safety concern. The worry is that if all available spaces are used for solar, it will limit the ability of the Fire Department to access locations in the event of an emergency. These safety codes do not need to be an impediment to the expansion of solar power in the city, however. Innovations in the structure of solar panels, the type of panel, and in the storage of solar power are continuing to make solar one of the most viable options in the city. By using innovative practices, such as stacking solar panels, those interested in going solar can do so as cheaply and efficiently as possible without violating city code. By going solar, residents and building owners can see any investment in solar return relatively quickly, often within a decade. Because of this return and the increasing technology in storing solar energy, there is no question that New York is ready for solar. The only real question is how do we get the information and resources for transitioning to solar into the hands of those that need it and may implement it.