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In 2014, former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office announced an ambitious new climate target: 80 percent fewer emissions city wide by 2050. In order to reach that goal, the city aims to install 1,000 megawatts of solar technology within the five boroughs by 2030, enough to supply 250,000 homes with electricity. 

But New York City has fallen behind. As of April, it had only installed 333 megawatts of solar — less than half of the solar capacity it aims to achieve by the end of this decade. NYC has a 70 megawatt solar gap to close this year alone in order to fulfill its 2030 goal. 

A number of regulatory hurdles stand in the way of the city making progress on its climate ambitions. One of those obstacles can be found in a surprising place: New York City’s fire and building codes. 

In a city as densely populated as New York, rooftops play an essential role in deploying renewable energy. Without rooftop solar, the city can’t install enough solar capacity to meet its climate goal. City leaders know this — as of 2019, the city requires all new buildings and major renovations of existing buildings to include either solar panels or a green roof s... Read more

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