NYC rooftops could host 11 GW of high-yield solar projects

Mapdwell's NYC solar map
© Mapdwell

A map of solar energy potential for some 1 million buildings across five boroughs in NYC highlights the opportunities for clean energy in the Big Apple, and aims to make solar "exciting and simple."

[Update: Mapdwell has corrected its original press release to include the solar potential for all five boroughs, which is 11 GW, not 4.7 GW.]

Rooftops in New York City could be home to some 11 gigawatts of "high-yield" solar projects, according to Mapdwell, a Boston-based startup that identifies solar potential using an advanced solar mapping tool originally developed at MIT.

Homeowners and businesses in NYC can take advantage of the detailed data from Mapdwell's Solar System New York City project to take action toward the adoption of clean energy on their rooftops, as the solar mapping platform presents data on the solar potential of individual rooftops, along with a detailed cost/benefit analysis on the financial and environmental aspects of installing solar energy systems on those roofs.

Two years ago, Mapdwell made waves in the solar mapping field by creating an accurate map of the solar potential of all 17,000 rooftops in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and making the data accessible to anyone through its website, and the MIT spinoff has since expanded its offerings to other cities.

The company's high-resolution mapping platform essentially creates a 3D model of each community it covers, and uses the shape of the roof, the roof's orientation, the presence of any solar shading caused by trees or nearby structures, as well as historical weather data, to uncover what it describes as "highly accurate" data on solar potential. (Google is also getting into the solar mapping business with its Project Sunroof.)

Mapdwell's foray into New York City's solar landscape has revealed the potential for some 11 GW of rooftop solar capacity, which could generate more than 13 million MWh (megawatt-hours) of clean electricity per year, and power the equivalent of almost half a million homes.

“This is over $40 billion in local business that could provide enough clean, renewable energy to over 1.2 million American homes while offsetting carbon emissions equivalent to planting 185 million trees." - Eduardo Berlin, CEO of Mapdwell

Once an address is entered in Mapdwell, potential solar homeowners can use the online system's tools to design a solar energy system that would meet their needs (within the constraints of the roof's size), or to explore different preset configurations based on the user's investment plans or desired electricity cost savings.

Mapdwell delivers a near-instant visualization of what those different configurations would look like, in terms of the physical space on the roof, as well as metrics on the potential carbon offset of the solar array, the overall cost, and the system's payback period. The report can then be downloaded for further perusal, or forwarded to one or more of Mapdwell's "trusted local installers," which can then provide detailed quotes and discuss the solar options, as well as start to move forward on the purchase of a solar energy system.

Find out more about this solar mapping project for New York City at Solar System NYC.

[Correction 8/25/15: Mapdwell originally stated that the rooftop solar potential in NYC was 4.7 GW, capable of generating 5 million MWh annually. These figures did not include all five boroughs of NYC. The correct estimation from Mapdwell is 11 GW of potential capacity, with 13 million MWh of potential annual generation, and this post has been updated with those figures.]

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