Solar power in New York could meet half of the city's peak energy demands. The city's been fully assessed for solar capability, using a plane-mounted radar system called Lidar that checks out whether rooftops are suitable for solar panels. Turns out a full 66 percent of them are, and the city and its inhabitants could be saving a buttload of money and energy by making use of that fact. If New York could harness all its rooftop potential, it would triple the amount of solar energy currently installed nationwide.

City University of New York — which partnered with the city and the Department of Energy to do the Lidar assessment — has assembled the data into an interactive map. New York residents (and landlords, and perhaps solar speculators) can check out how much energy they could generate, how much they could reduce their carbon emissions, and how much money they could save by installing panels on their building. Rather quaintly, it also tells you how many trees that equals, as though New Yorkers are going to say "well, I was GOING to plant 1,200 trees this year, but installing solar is even better!"

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