New York City’s sprawling landscape could serve as one of the world’s largest solar-energy grids, according to some research compiled by a Massachusetts-based startup called Mapdwell. The company’s researchers think that over one million rooftops spread out across the city could be transformed into a network of solar energy centers and help New Yorkers offset their overwhelming use of carbon-burning appliances that contribute to global warming.
Mapdwell used a 3D processing tool to construct a map of what NYC would look like as a repurposed solar-grid. Using “high-resolution LiDAR data (Light Detection and Ranging) to create a three-dimensional model of the entire urban topology,” Mapdwell’s project, official called Solar System, turns the city into a giant spread of vibrant gold, and highlights the vastness of NYC’s solar potential:
Mapdwell obviously tabulated some striking data to convey the benefits of the whole process. The startup notes that in over one million New York City buildings, there is a potential for over 13 million megawatt hours per year, which according to Fast Company, would provide enough energy to power over 1.2 million homes.
Solar System even puts the data to practice, as it lets users record their own address to see if their building is an untapped resource. We tested the address of our office in Downtown Brooklyn, which is consequently in a very, very big building. According to Solar System, converting the roof of 1 Metrotech Roadway would be equivalent to powering eleven homes and planting 107,000 trees:
Mapdwell is aware of the many legal and financial impediments that might hamper such a massive undertaking, though, and provides detailed information on things like cost and tax credits on a building-by-building basis. “Solar System displays key information in its “Dashboard Display,” which breaks down all the aspects of your building’s solar-conversion, including the monthly revenue, system size, payback period and carbon offset measured by trees planted per year.
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