This week, New York City passed landmark legislation that relaxes restrictions on solar developments through a carbon neutrality zoning amendment. This “City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality” zoning initiative will move the city toward more equitable and sustainable living.
“New York City is a ‘City of Yes,’ and this historic proposal will pave the way for a more sustainable future,” said NYC Mayor Eric Adams. “By modernizing our city’s zoning code, we have taken a bold step forward in fighting climate change, while delivering cleaner air, lower energy costs, smarter waste management and better access to EV technologies to New Yorkers across the city.”
The new zoning regulations abolish the coverage and setback restrictions for rooftop solar installations that have historically hampered the expansion of clean energy developments. With the setback regulations pardoned for solar installations, huge swaths of real estate that were not previously viable for solar development will be made available – in some cases as much as doubling the square footage available on one rooftop. This will result in millions of additional kilowatt-hours of clean electricity over the lifetime of systems.
In addition, the law will allow for solar canopies to be installed over the city’s 8,500 acres of parking lots, adequate space for hundreds of additional megawatts of clean energy production – enough to power tens of thousands of homes and apartment units in New York City.
Provisions to the zoning laws also offer a boon to property owners in the city. Lower utility costs associated with the installation of solar will increase profits and drive real estate values.
Commenting on passage of “City of Yes,” Brooklyn SolarWorks’ founder and CEO T.R. Ludwig said, “This is a landmark moment in New York’s effort to boost green technologies and support carbon neutrality. Solar energy’s potential will now be fully realized as a renewable energy resource for all New Yorkers. By removing zoning restrictions that held back installation of solar panels on many homes, thousands more New Yorkers will be able to enjoy the benefits of solar energy. We applaud Mayor Adams and City Council for taking this historic step forward towards a greener and more energy efficient future.”