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June 07, 2012

IBM Helps New York City 'Follow the Sun'

By Cheryl Kaften, TMCnet Contributor

They say the lights are bright on Broadway. But now, New York City’s Solar Portal can track just how much solar power is being produced near the Great White Way, as well as throughout the rest of Manhattan and outer boroughs.

IBM (News - Alert) Corporation is helping New York City become a global leader in urban solar energy market analysis and sustainability through an innovative agreement with CUNY Ventures, a City University of New York Economic Development Corporation entity. 

The goal of this effort is to make solar deployment more cost-competitive and attractive overall, by developing the capability to analyze and understand key market indicators.  Using IBM’s Intelligent Operations Center (IOC) for Smarter Cities as the backbone, this analytics-based platform will help New York City monitor and analyze solar generation and capacity through a virtual control room that will provide a dashboard view of key data.   

"As people migrate to urban centers in greater numbers, demand increases on city infrastructures and resources," commented Craig Hayman, general manager at IBM Industry Solutions.  "Intelligent automation of key services such as energy, water, transportation and public safety is the solution to help meet these challenges. Developing leadership in sustainable resources, as New York is doing with solar energy, serves as a model for meeting citizens' needs while achieving the operational goals of the city." 


The collaboration is part of the groundbreaking project, Solar Market Analytics, Roadmapping and Tracking – New York (SMART NY), supported in part by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Rooftop Solar Challenge.

Under the Rooftop Solar Challenge, 22 teams nationwide attempt to make it easier, faster and cheaper for homeowners and businesses to install rooftop solar photovoltaic arrays. The collaborative teams are implementing streamlined and standardized processes that will dramatically improve local market conditions. The challenge is funded by the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, intended to make solar electricity cost-competitive with other forms of energy – without subsidies – by the end of the decade. 

Initially, five state and city entities will use the solar market analytics:

  • The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
  • The NYC Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability
  •  Consolidated Edison (the regional utility)
  • The NYC Department of Buildings
  • The NYC Economic Development Corporation

CUNY Ventures aims to create a sustainable model that can incorporate additional data and provide analytics to help city leaders and utility planners integrate other forms of renewable energy and better manage city operations, leading to efficiencies in areas such as water, transportation and emergency response. 

 “CUNY faculty helped develop the NYC Solar Map, which displays the solar potential of every building in the city,” said City University of New York Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. “Now our CUNY team is working with our partners on … solutions that can help New York accelerate the adoption of this clean renewable energy.” 

Upon successful completion in year one, plans are in place to expand this effort to other major jurisdictions in New York State, with a goal of creating standards and streamlining the permits process.

Edited by Braden Becker

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