New Yorkers Embrace Solar Power

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In an effort to reduce their carbon footprints, homeowners across New York City are increasingly turning to solar energy, with Brooklyn brownstone owners hurrying to catch up with their counterparts in Queens and Staten Island.

Because solar panels are generally designed for sloped roofs, Brooklyn’s many flat-topped row-houses have put the borough at a disadvantage, but new technology is starting to change that.

“Older buildings are energy-wasters,” said Alfred Ling, 60, whose roof in Park Slope, on his four-story, three-unit rowhouse, is about half-covered in solar panels. His neighbors have similar setups.

“We should be trying to increase our use of renewable energy, one building at a time,” Mr. Ling said. “And I’m doing my part.” Steeply discounted power bills are also an incentive.

Queens currently has the largest number of solar-powered homes, with more than 7,000 — most of them single-family houses, according to information from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which tracks the industry. Staten Island is a close second.

Those numbers should not come as a surprise, solar companies say. Most panels are designed for sloped roofs, to maximize absorption of the sun’s rays — and because most houses across the country can accommodate them. Queens and Staten Island, which have many areas that are borderline suburban, offer plenty of those surfaces on single-family houses.
source: NY Times