New York City opens 8,500 acres of parking lots to solar canopies

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New York City has relaxed its zoning laws for renewables, including opening over 8,500 acres of parking lots for solar canopies.

The New York City Council approved the “City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality,” a game-changing zoning code update that will make it easier to deploy clean energy and EV chargers, and other sustainable initiatives.

Mayor Eric Adams said, “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.”

“City of Yes” removes zoning obstacles that severely limit how much rooftop space can be covered by solar panels. It will make it easier to install long duration energy storage to go with solar, and allow microgrids – particularly in low-income communities – that are currently banned in residential areas. It also allows for the solar canopy installation in parking lots – which, if fully built out, could power more than 130,000 homes. 

The initiative also more than doubles commercially zoned land where EV charging stations can be sited. These changes mean EV charging is now possible in an additional 400 million square feet of space throughout the city. 

“Building climate solutions, like solar power and battery storage, often comes down to the nuts and bolts of permitting and zoning, and we are so thrilled that the New York City Council and the city administration are recognizing this through the ‘City of Yes’ initiative,” said Anne Reynolds, executive director, Alliance for Clean Energy New York. 

Read more: Should solar be required on all new parking lots and buildings?

Photo: “Walmart solar panel parking lot” by bossco is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.


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