Solar energy developer and financier, Standard Solar, announced that it has 35 commercial-scale rooftop solar projects comprising 9 megawatts of solar power in urban areas like New York City and Washington, DC. The projects are installed on schools, fire and police stations in dense urban environments.
“Once considered too expensive and too challenging to install, rooftop solar in urban environments has been an overlooked opportunity to both harness and deliver energy directly where it is being used. Our projects in New York’s Brooklyn, Jamaica, Queens, Flushing, Astoria, Staten Island, Bronx and in Washington, DC are great examples of how solar on rooftops in urban areas can be successful,” said Tony Clifford, Standard Solar’s chief development officer.
The potential for rooftop solar array in urban areas is great, according to a recent report from the Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). In its study, "Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Technical Potential in the United States: A Detailed Assessment,” the lab found that rooftop solar arrays in urban areas could generate 39 percent of the US’s energy or an estimated of 1,118 gigawatts of solar power. Similarly, a solar integration study by the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) found that New York could generate 9,000 megawatts of solar power—about a third of its total energy production.
While there is plenty of available rooftop space in densely populated cities like DC and New York City and providers like Standard Solar are investing in urban solar expansion, the challenges of construction, expense and suitable rooftop space remain. Factors like rooftop angles, the way they face and the amount of shade thrown by larger, neighboring buildings during peak hours for solar production are challenges that developers must face and overcome when developing solar projects in these areas.
Standard Solar’s announcement comes as Washington, DC, New York City and New York and other governments are setting more standards and requirements for solar power integration into their future energy plans. For instance, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently mandated a new statewide renewable energy standard that would require its utility companies to produce 50 percent of their electricity from clean energy by 2030. Washington, DC, has set and revised expectations for solar and other clean-energy resource development, but showing the difficulties inherent in deploying clean energy in densely packed areas, it already has fallen short of these goals due to infrastructure problems and the space required to develop sufficient independent clean energy resources.Tweet