U.S. Department of Energy Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Crunching Solar Numbers: The Big Apple Uses Big Data

The City University of New York (CUNY) and its partners developed an analytics-based approach that makes it easier to spot key solar market indicators such as new permit applications and photovoltaic (PV) installations as they happen in the city. Through the Energy Department's SunShot Rooftop Solar Challenge, the CUNY-led team is launching an advanced analytics portal that helps community leaders look at solar data in a new light.

This innovative software platform is called the CVI SMART Solutions portal, which stands for CUNY Ventures, Inc. Solar Market Analytics, Roadmapping, and Tracking. CVI SMART Solutions aggregates and analyzes more than 15 billion data points from a permit tracking portal, real-time data acquisition systems, and the NYC Solar Map. This allows local leaders to answer questions like how much solar capacity will be added over the coming months, where are projects delayed, and what is the economic impact of solar on the community. Eventually, the system will take into account additional factors such as weather and power consumption.

"Ultimately, our aim is to drive down the soft costs of installing solar in America's City of a million rooftops and help the Department of Energy reach its goal of grid parity," said Tria Case, University Director of Sustainability at CUNY and lead implementer of the DOE solar programs in NYC. "NYC has seen exponential solar growth and the CVI SMART Solutions portal will help the city monitor and analyze the solar market through a virtual control room that will provide a dashboard view of key market indicators." 

Five state and city entities—the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the NYC Mayor's Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability, Consolidated Edison, the NYC Department of Buildings, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation—have tested, evaluated, and guided the development of the CVI SMART application. Plans are now in place to expand the effort statewide so that leaders can effectively identify permitting and interconnection sticking points that can be resolved with unified standards and streamlined processes.

Over the past six years, New York City has used four Energy Department awards to drive an eight-fold increase in the number of solar installation companies, more than 14 megawatts (MW) of growth in rooftop solar capacity from a baseline of 1 MW, and the addition of $116 million to the local economy. With the launch of the CVI SMART Solutions portal, New York City is poised to make even bigger strides using the first-ever intelligent operations center focused on solar market development.

Learn more about this project at www.nycsolarcity.org.

This project is funded by the Rooftop Solar Challenge program under the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative.


Contact Information:

Alison Kling
NYC Solar Coordinator
Sustainable CUNY 


Website: www.nycsolarmap.com

Sustainable CUNY
255 Greenwich Street, New York City, NY 10007
United States
June, 2013
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