Manhattan Borough President and likely 2013 mayoral candidate Scott Stringer issued a report today calling for solar panels to be installed on the roofs of New York City public schools.
“Solar energy installations and public schools are a perfect match,” Mr. Stringer said. “This is an idea whose time has come–a cost-effective, sensible program that will create jobs, lower energy bills and save tax dollars for decades to come.”
Citing an analysis by the advocacy organization New Energy New York, Mr. Stringer said solar installations atop city schools could generate over 5,000 new jobs.
Mr. Stringer said his plan to put solar power installations on city schools “is no pie in the sky proposal” and criticized New York for falling behind other cities in terms of solar power. Similar programs have been launched in California, Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey and Oregon. Germany and China have also launched large-scale solar power initiatives.
“New York City should be a global leader, not a follower, in expanding our region’s solar economy,” Mr. Stringer said.
Based on the City University of New York NYC Solar Map, Mr. Stringer provided data showing solar power installations on school rooftops could generate 169.46 megawatts of electricity while eliminating 76,696 tons of carbon from the air each year. New York currently produces just 6.5 megawatts of publicly and privately owned solar electricity.
Mr. Stringer said power purchase agreements, which provide renewable energy credits to private businesses that install and maintain solar panels are crucial to starting solar power initiatives in the city. Because of this, Mr. Stringer said the state must pass the Solar Jobs Act, which includes incentives for businesses to pursue solar power initiatives. The Solar Jobs Act is currently pending before the legislature.
“I call on the legislature to pass The Solar Jobs Act,” Mr. Stringer said. “And I urge all New Yorkers to join me in a campaign to make solar energy a key part of our push for new jobs, cheaper energy bills and tax savings.”
Mr. Stringer doesn’t want to stop with school rooftops. He eventually hopes to see solar installations on every building in the city.
“Schools could be just the beginning,” Mr. Stringer said. “If every rooftop in the city were properly fitted with solar energy installations, estimates from CUNY suggest we could generate half of New York’s peak energy supply.”