Sustainable CUNY is working with Con Edison, NYSERDA, the NYC Department of Buildings, and the FDNY to shorten and streamline the permitting and interconnection processes for installing solar in NYC. This page details resources to help solar installers navigate the current NYC requirements. Click here for New York State Installer Resources
Sustainable CUNY convenes a NYC and NYS Installer Roundtable, a forum for exchanging information, training opportunities and industry updates. If you would like to join the NYC and/or NYS Installer Roundtable, please send a request with your solar company email to email@example.com.
City of New York Resources
Click the agencies below for more information on their processes and links to their instructional resources relevant to solar projects.
- The NYC DOB issues building and electrical permits for the 5 boroughs.
- The NYC Development Hub is DOB’s online filing system. There are 2 ways to file DOB construction permit applications online; Hub Full-Service <pdf> and Hub Self-Service <pdf>.
- All Property Tax Abatement applications must go through Hub Full Service, which means a plan exam review is being requested.
- Hub Self-Service means the NYS Registered Architect or Professional Engineer will certify the application and not request a plan exam review.
- Electrical permit applications are separate from construction and must be submitted by a NYC Master Electrician who works for a registered Electrical Firm. They can also be filed online using the Development Hub.
- The Buildings Information System (BIS) can be used to track permit applications and find site specific information on any address in the 5 boroughs.
- FDNY has set restrictions to solar arrays in NYC limits under Fire Code Chapter 5 Section 504 & 512.
- Summary of Fire Code:
- A. Buildings under 100 feet tall with a roof slope over> 20 degrees> must provide a 3 foot clear path along the ridgeline of each roof (not the sides or the bottom)
- B. Buildings under 100 feet tall with a roof slope 20 degrees and under> must provide a 6 foot wide and 9 feet tall clear path from front to back and side to side. There also must be a 6’x6’ clear path landing zone every 12 feet of frontage space (street facing side of the roof). 3’ wide access must be provided around scuttles, skylights, fire escapes, and ladders. A 6’ wide clear radius is required around roof doors. Fences in clear path are allowed but must provide a gate.
- C. There are also requirements on conduit runs and labeling
- Technology Management Bulletin rev. 2013 <pdf> <pdf> - Explanation of code and variance request
- If you would like an exception to the Fire Code for your project, you may file a TM-5 application <pdf>. It is possible to reduce the 6’ clear path requirement on ‘flat roofs’ to 3 feet in some circumstances. Exceptions to the 3’ clear path from the ridge on ‘sloped roofs’ are unlikely.
- FAQs have been created by FDNY to clarify the code
- Con Edison is the main electric utility in NYC. They use an online system called Project Center to submit net metering applications. For large systems, utility grid upgrades may be required to handle energy flowing both ways. It is recommended to contact their Distributed Generation department in advance of signing contracts to receive an estimate of costs, if any.
- The NYC DCP is responsible for zoning in NYC. It was ruled that solar does not add an additional story to a building. Panels on sloped roofs cannot be tilted more than 18” off the roof. The Zoning and Land Use Map (ZOLA) can be used to determine the zoning district and other site specific information.
NYC Solar Installer Workshop Presentations