Solar energy is important in facilitating a clean energy future, which is imperative in the fight against climate change. But the use of solar energy has benefits that extend beyond environmental impact. From health to economics, solar has the capacity to change the lives of New Yorkers for the better.

The Growth of Solar Energy in NYC

The very first solar system was installed on a rooftop right here in New York City way back in 1884. But for a long time, unfortunately, solar companies avoided installing solar in our urban environment due to its complexities. Conventional solar models were made for the suburban, pitched roof home, unlike many homes here in the city. 

The first solar energy system installed by Charles Fritts in 1884. Credit

Brooklyn SolarWorks was founded to change that. While our installations today look a little different than back in 1884, NYC is quickly becoming a solarized city. We’ve developed custom solar system design methods specifically for flat roofed brownstones and townhouses in NYC, while also figuring out how to navigate NYC’s complex permitting process. As a result, we’ve had the opportunity to contribute to the growth of solar in NYC with over 2,000 solar installations.

How is solar energy obtained?

The sun’s energy can be obtained and converted using a variety of solar technologies, creating electricity for home use, thermal energy for solar heating, or other purposes. 

In a home solar system setup, energy from the sun is harnessed using the technology of photovoltaic (PV) panels. When sunlight shines on a solar PV panel during the day, the energy is absorbed by solar cells and converted into DC electricity. When the current flows through an inverter, it is converted into AC electricity which is usable in your home.

Want to know how solar could work for your NYC home? Get in touch with us.

6 Reasons Why Solar Energy is Important in NYC

1. It’s Good for the Environment

It’s no secret that one of the most important things about solar power is that it’s a clean, renewable energy source. To mitigate the effects of the climate crisis, we need to transition to alternative energy sources that don’t emit greenhouse gasses – especially in our buildings. A recent study found that the buildings here in NYC are responsible for 70% of our total emissions

Solar is one of the best renewable energy options available, particularly for individual households and buildings.

2. It Reduces Energy Costs

Another important feature of solar energy is that it’s cost-effective. Rather than purchasing natural gas and electricity powered by fossil fuels from the utility grid, solar PV systems allow you to convert the sun’s energy into electricity right in your own home. Through a program called net metering, you’ll receive full retail energy credits on your electric bills from Con Edison for all of the excess energy your system produces and exports to the grid.

One of our customer’s electric bills showing zero supply charges.

Powering your home with solar means you can say goodbye to the volatility of the fossil fuel market and unexpected utility rate hikes – something us New Yorkers are all too well aware of. Solar panels provide a free, renewable energy source that lasts for decades. 

Plus, by electrifying your home with all-electric appliances (air source heat pumps, electric hot water heaters, or induction cooktops) after going solar, the cost savings become even more valuable – and your dependence on fossil fuels decreases even further.

3. It Provides Health Benefits

When it comes to energy sources, “clean” doesn’t just mean good for the environment. Transitioning to clean energy is a necessity for our health. The burning of fossil fuels produces harmful greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, methane, and nitrogen oxides. In fact, a study by Stanford University found that gas stoves leak methane into homes even when they’re not in use. 

These gases are linked to various problems, like premature deaths, heart attacks, asthma, and other cardiovascular and respiratory issues. This is on top of the health effects of weather events exasperated by climate change, like extreme storms and even allergy season.

New York City is particularly vulnerable to these impacts. As of 2017, New York had the highest rate of premature deaths and health impacts due to fuel combustion pollution, with NYC being responsible for a significant portion. And not all New Yorkers experience these effects the same way – lower income communities and communities of color are more likely to be negatively impacted. 

With our buildings being the top greenhouse gas emissions source, it’s imperative that we transition them to clean energy sources like solar.

4. It Promotes Energy Independence

Producing your own energy at home means reducing your dependence on electricity coming from the power grid, which promotes energy independence on an individual level. Rooftop solar energy systems give home and building owners the ability to produce their own power, which reduces energy costs and provides a greater sense of security.

This applies on a national level, too. Transitioning to solar and wind energy on a large scale would reduce the United States’s dependence on imports of foreign fossil fuels, which would provide greater economic and political stability.

solar canopy on top of Park Slope nonprofit, CHiPS. View of Manhattan skyline in background.

5. It Provides Financial Incentives

Solar energy provides financial benefits in addition to energy cost savings. Solar installation is heavily incentivized by the government on the federal, state and local levels. This means that not only will you see cost savings in the long run, but you’ll also see savings on the initial investment of your solar installation. 

The tax incentives available to New Yorkers specifically make our city one of the best places in the country to go solar. Through a federal income tax credit, state solar tax credit, a state rebate, a local property tax abatement, and other incentives, a New York City homeowner can see their upfront contract price reduced by around 70 percent. 

Additionally, a study released by in 2019 determined that across the country, homes with solar panels see a significant boost in value, averaging a 4.1% premium. But the increase in property value for homes with solar in the New York City metropolitan area was even greater, topping out at 5.4%. This translates to a premium of almost $24,000.

Want to learn more about what incentives your solar installation could qualify for? Chat with us today.

6. It Creates Jobs

Solar is important for the economy of New York. The solar industry here has experienced incredible growth over the past decade, and it’s only continuing to grow. 

New York was the 8th largest state solar industry in 2021, employing 10,214 people across 645 companies. The state has over 3,380 MW of solar installed currently, and is projected to install an additional 4,877 MW over the next 5 years. In fact, Governor Hochul announced that as of March 2022, New York is the largest community solar market in the country with more than 1 gigawatt installed – enough to power 200,000 homes.

The growth of the solar industry means overall economic growth for the city and state. Green jobs are the way of the future for NYC.

The Power of Solar Energy in NYC

Solar is important for countless reasons. Whether environmental, economic, or health-related, the importance of solar energy in NYC cannot be understated. New York City is leading the charge when it comes to the clean energy transition with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. 

Realizing this goal means installing solar panels on buildings big and small across the city, from the Javits Center to your single family brownstone. And installing solar means job creation, greater cost efficiency, and protecting the health of our neighbors and the earth.

Get Started with Solar Energy Today

If you’re considering solar for your NYC home, trust an expert. Brooklyn SolarWorks has been custom designing solar systems for NYC roofs and expertly navigating the city’s complex permitting process since 2015. 

Join over 2,000 of your neighbors and flip the switch to solar today! Schedule a free consultation now.

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