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Report - July 2012

Here Comes the Sun

This edition of New York by the Numbers reveals that New York City lags behind the rest of the state when it comes to installing solar energy panels in residential, commercial and government buildings, but is beginning to catch up.

by Seamus Dolan




Tags: economic growth | boroughs | solar panels

This is an excerpt. Click here to read the full report (PDF).


The number of solar panel installations in New York City has increased by an incredible 783 percent since 2008. But despite this considerable progress, none of the five boroughs rank among the state’s top 10 counties for total solar installations completed, suggesting that New York still has a long way to go in transitioning to solar energy.

From 2003 to 2011, there were 8,900 solar systems installed statewide, but just 360 of them (4 percent) were in the city. Only two of the five boroughs were among the state’s top 20 counties for total solar installations completed—Queens, with 120 systems installed, was 12th among the state’s 62 counties at the end of 2011 while Brooklyn, with 108 installations, was 15th. The Bronx was 22nd among all counties in the state (with 52 installations), Manhattan was 25th (47 installations) and Staten Island was 36th (33 installations).

Long Island’s Suffolk County was first among all counties in the state, with 3,416 solar installations between 2003 and 2011. Nassau County was second with 1,432 installations, followed by Ulster County with 349, Westchester with 305, and Dutchess County with 303.

The good news is that New York City is beginning to catch up. Between 2008 and 2011, there was a 783 percent increase in the number of solar installations in the five boroughs, with the number of installations climbing from 18 to 159. This outpaces even the brisk rate (275 percent) of growth statewide.  Moreover, earlier this year, the NYC Solar America City Partnership announced that the city surpassed its solar energy target of 8.1 megawatts (MW) under the federally-funded Solar America City program three years early.