Thanks to a plane equipped with laser, or more specifically Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), the plane was able to map out the rooftops of New York City thanks to laser pulses, which has also found use when mapping out forests and adaptive cruise control systems found in certain cars. The map was then used by the City University of New York (CUNY) to show that two-thirds of the city’s rooftops are actually viable locations for solar panels and to generate solar power, enough power to power the entire city during the peak periods.
The map also went on to show that New York City has the potential to generate 5,847 megawatts of solar power but sadly the city only has about 400 installations which generate 6.6 megawatts, a long way from its potential. Granted it does cost a fair bit to install and can cost up to $10,000 per installation, an amount that some buildings may not be willing to pay. However in San Francisco after their solar map was launched they saw an increase from 551 installations in 2007 to 2,300 installations today, so here’s hoping we will be able to see the same for New York City.