NextCity – July 5, 2016
by Josh Cohen
For big-city residents interested in sustainable energy, solar can be a tricky puzzle. Tenants often don’t own the building they live in. There are HVAC ducts and other building equipment taking up precious rooftop real estate. Setback requirements limit the amount of space panels can take up, which in turn limits the energy return the solar system can provide. In cities such as New York, there’s also the fact that rooftops can be communal patios that offer a rare bit of open space, which people are loath to give up.
“Certainly it is more complicated than [suburban or rural solar]. There are lots of reasons we haven’t seen as much urban solar development,” says John Farrell, director of Democratic Energy at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.