Here’s a news flash that should come as no surprise to anyone that follows solar energy in New York City: the five boroughs have far less PV installed than many other counties in the state. According to the latest “New York by the Numbers” report from the Center for an Urban Future, an NYC-based public policy think tank, New York State installed 8,900 solar systems from 2003 to 2011 but just 360 – or 4 percent – were in the City. Moreover, none of the five boroughs ranks in the top 10 counties for PV.
The top two counties, both on Long Island, were Suffolk, with 3,416 solar systems, and Nassau, with 1,432. The three counties that rounded out the top five all gained about 300 installations in that time. In comparison, Queens, the top NYC county and number 12 statewide, installed just 120 systems. Brooklyn came in at number 15 with 108 systems, the Bronx was 22nd with 52, Manhattan was 25th with 55, and Staten Island ranks 36th with 33. At least none of the boroughs came in last; New York has 62 counties total.
Despite New York City’s lackluster showing, there was a bright side to the report. From 2008 to 2011, installed PV in NYC increased by 783 percent, which is close to three times the statewide growth rate. While just four years ago the City had a mere 18 solar installations, last year that number jumped to 159. Not surprisingly based on the current county rankings, the biggest PV growth was seen in Queens and Brooklyn. Let’s hope the positive trends continue.