NEW YORK—Installing solar in New York City should get a little easier, thanks to a new project called SMART NY, which aims to breakdown some of the bureaucratic barriers currently in place. The plan was announced by CUNY, on behalf of New York City, at the NYC Solar Summit, Thursday.
“Part of the reason it has been slow to take hold here is because we haven’t made it easy to do,” Cas Holloway, New York City deputy mayor for operations said. “We are going to make it easy, if you have the resources, to install solar in New York City.”
SMART NY, which stands for Solar Market Analytics, Roadmapping, and Tracking NY, is the collaboration of 30 partners and agencies from the city and state level, in both the public and private sector.
Obtaining a permit for solar installation has been a huge roadblock in increasing the solar output in the city.
“We have an internal goal of getting the permitting process for solar from 12 months a year ago down to 100 days. Right now we are at seven months,” Holloway said. “We are ruthlessly driving toward the 100-day goal.”
The reason for the long wait was applicants had to go through a multitude of government agencies, none of which were talking with each other. Forms, with much of the same information, often had to be submitted to multiple agencies.
Under the new SMART NY plan, and with a level of cooperation never before seen between city and state agencies and a utility, many of the permitting agencies involved will use an online portal, creating a streamlined, user-friendly process.
“The solar portal will bring together the work of the different agencies to ease the process of getting the permits through the system and reduce the costs and time scales of those activities,” Procemx CEO and founder Ian Ritchie. Proemx will provide the software for the solar portal.
The solar portal will allow customers to see where their permit is in the process and address any holdups in a timelier manner than the current method of calling around.
Software company IBM will also be providing software for the SMART NY project, using its Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities platform used by cities around the world.
CUNY Ventures will use the analytics based IBM system to take data from the solar portal, the NYC Solar Map, and solar empowerment zones to create long-term solar solutions. This new system will give CUNY Ventures the ability to analyze and understand key solar market indicators and make changes accordingly—hopefully keeping the cost down.These groundbreaking measures, in addition to reducing costs, will serve as a model for other cities through the state of New York for future projects.
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