Clean Energy Generation

One kneeling worker and one standing worker installing solar panels on a rooftop.

Program Overview

Through the Clean Energy Program, DEM works to expand solar photovoltaic (PV) and other distributed energy resources across the City’s portfolio of buildings. The City has established a goal of installing 100MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) on City-owned buildings by 2025. In 2016, DEM assessed all City-owned buildings greater than 10,000 gross square feet for solar readiness, and identified nearly 55MW of rooftop solar potential. DEM also is working with City agencies to broaden solar beyond rooftops to include solar parking lot canopies and other types of installations.

DEM seeks to incorporate educational and workforce development opportunities into our clean energy efforts wherever possible. DEM currently funds solar training for teachers in public schools in partnership with the not-for-profit organization, Solar One. In addition, DEM offers solar training for City staff, with a focus on operations and maintenance.

Download the Solar100 New York City’s Municipal Solar Strategy Report (2018)

Watch The City of New York: Bringing Solar Power to Government Buildings Video

On April 2019 The New York City Council passed LL92 and LL94. As of November 15th 2019, these laws went into effect and require that all buildings undergoing roof decking replacement and any newly constructed buildings are mandated to have a sustainable roofing zone. A “sustainable roofing zone” is defined as a solar photovoltaic system, a green roof, or a combination of both.

Exempt from Local Law 92 and Local Law 94:

  1. Roof areas that must be set aside to meet NYC building codes and zoning requirements.
  2. Roof areas that are occupied by mechanical equipment, water towers, antennas and other important devices. Equipment accesses are also exempt from LL92/94.
  3. Specific areas that are occupied by components of stormwater management systems.
  4. Building setbacks: existing terraces that don’t meet the NYC Zoning Resolution, and those that are installed voluntarily. To be exempt, the setback areas must be under 25% of the largest floor plate area in the building.
  5. Recreational spaces that are important for the building’s occupancy classification, such as sports areas in schools.
  6. Roofs that cannot accommodate at least 4 kW of solar power capacity, and with a slope above 2:12 that makes them unsuitable for a green roof.
  7. Any area where the NYC Department of Buildings considers that conditions are unsuitable for a solar or green roof system. For example, this applies for roof replacements where the building structure cannot tolerate the additional weight of a sustainable roofing zone.

Outcomes

As of April 2018, DEM has installed 10.7 MW of solar PV panels across 67 buildings, representing 10% of the City’s goal to install 100 MW of solar by 2025. This represents a ten-fold increase in installed solar capacity on City-owned buildings since Mayor de Blasio took office in 2014, when there was less than one MW installed. 

See the list of solar installations on New York City public buildings  

How to Participate

DEM selects City buildings for solar installations in close coordination with our agency partners. In general, we prioritize City buildings that are 10,000 gross square feet or larger and have roofs that are no more than 10 years old and in a state of good repair. Working closely with our Agency Energy Partners, we identify facilities across our entire portfolio based on these criteria.

Contractor Pre-Qualified List to install solar PV projects with the City

Project Locator

The following map shows the locations of current solar installations. Visit the borough links near the bottom of this page to go to an accessible version of the list of solar installations in each borough.

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Clean Energy Generation by Borough

Bronx
Brooklyn
Manhattan
Queens
Staten Island