The need for electricity particularly in large cities like New Yorkcontinues to grow unabated and renewable sources of energy are beingincreasingly in demand for energy security. Rising to the need of thehour the City University of New York (CUNY) in collaboration with NewYork City and the federal Department of Energy has announced that 66.4%of the city’s rooftops qualify for solar power harnessing.
The city has a more than a million buildings and altogether thesolar panels could generate enough energy (5847 megawatts) to meetnearly half (49.7%) the city’s daytime peak demand for electricity. They also predicted that 14% of the city’s yearly electricity use could begenerated using solar panels. Compare this to the meager 6.5 megawattsgenerated currently from roughly 400 installations in NYC.
CUNY in association with its collaborators have developed aninteractive map which can be seen at the website of CUNY. Individualscan now check the suitability of any building in NYC for solar panels,government subsidies to install solar panels and also the exact amountof electricity that can be generated.
The coolest thing about the study is that it used highly preciseLidar technology. An airplane armed with a laser system (Lidar)collected data on a number of variables (shape, angle, size of therooftops together with the amount of shading from trees and otherarchitecture) which were then analyzed to construct this map.
Solar Power sector is still yet to grow. In USA the installed solarcapacity of the entire country is only 2300 megawatts. Solar EnergyIndustries Association has predicted that solar power might grow into a$12-billion-a-year industry in 2011. In San Francisco, the number ofinstallations have grown more than 3.5 times to 2300 in 2011 compared to 551 in 2007. This map is clearly a step forward in this arena.