NYC Residents Want More Solar

New York City is a politically progressive city and many people here truly want to do the right thing about global warming. At the same time, New Yorkers are notoriously pragmatic and they don't just want feel-good or impractical ideas thrust upon them. In a way New Yorkers are your savvy environmentalists. Plus, as I've explained before, NYC is a fairly energy efficient place already, just by virtue of our smaller living spaces in multiunit buildings and heavy reliance on mass transit instead of automobiles.

That's why I wasn't surprised to see in a recent poll that New Yorkers are somewhat ahead of the country on several Peak oil awareness measures, including having "heard of or read about the US Energy Crisis" and believing that it is "very serious" and they overwhelmingly believe it is "likely their city or town will face a serious critical energy crisis in the next five years".

Also of note from the survey was that the highest preference was for more investment in Solar power over all other energy sources. For the record, the rank order of energy sources for future electricity production (p.10):

1. Solar

2. On Shore Wind

3. Off Shore Wind

4. Tidal / Wave Power

5. Largescale Hydro

6. Fuelcells

7. Landfill Gas

8. Waste Incineration

9. Nuclear

10. Natural Gas

11. Coal

12. Oil

And the popularity of solar was definitely good news to the co-sponsor of the Survey: CUNY Million Solar Roofs Initiative

Solar has a long, long way to go to make even a dent in NYC's vast energy consumption. But even gritty, pragmatic New Yorkers can be optimistic that solar can be a clean source of power in the future.

I'm surprised that solar would prove so popular up in NYC, especially because it seems like one of the less ideal places for it.  Solar works a lot better the further south you get (and also generally the drier due to fewer periods of cloud cover).  As alternatives go, it seems to me that 2, 3, 4 and 5 would be more promising to NYC, not that solar can't make a difference.  It won't be as effective as it might be in sunny California or in Florida (although maybe the danger of hurricanes could make solar muontings undesirable in Florida?).  
One thing with solar here is that NYC hits peak demand on the hottest days of the year when everyone has their air conditioners running. If solar could shave off that demand a bit, it could mean the difference between a new power plant or not...
When I walked around NYC I saw a lot of old air conditioners (I would guess 20 years+) and a lot of old buildings.

I suspect spending that money on subsidising new air conditioners (Energy Star ones are as much as 60% more efficient) and new windows, insulation etc. would do as much for peak power demand as a few solar cells (at current prices).  A 'negawatt' saved is probably a whole lot cheaper than a megawatte generated by PV (at least in NYC's climate and latitude-- California or Phoenix could be very different).

Ditto mandating that stores, restaurants etc. keep their doors closed on hot days.

Perhaps through time of day pricing, although that would require a huge investment in new electric metring.

Yup, I'm into the whole negawatt thing. And Air Conditioner bounty program would be fantastic and would also allow proper disposal of the chemicals inside.
The keys are incentivising Con Ed into doing this, and getting away from the political rhetoric about 'new' energy sources.

That said, they are building a huge windpowered station in upstate New York, I think.  And there must be some real offshore wind opportunities off Long Island.

When the nuclear reactors shut down ( Nine Mile Point?) New York is going to have a power deficit, I think.

Actually as LevinK pointed out to me, we are already in deficit.

Here's an analysis I did a while back, but haven't figured out on my new Mac computer how to make the excel chart into a picture that I can post. Any tech advice.