The dropping price of solar technology is sparking the interest of New York City real estate developers. The roof of the luxurious Atelier building on West 42nd Street was decked out with solar panels back in 2011, and many other buildings in the area are expected to follow suit. Solar power helps building managers save thousands, which they can then use to add attractive perks for their tenants.

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River 2 River Realty operates the forty-six floor building, and company president Dan Neiditch acknowledges that incorporating solar power was a good move. The panels generate 5 percent of the building’s energy, saving around $40,000 annually.

Now that word of solar successes is spreading, other developers are looking to use solar power to make their projects more energy-efficient. Solar-powered “remote skylights” will be installed in the proposed Lowline Project, which will transform the abandoned Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal into an underground park. In the Bronx, solar power will be used to provide free Wi-Fi and cell phone charging stations where public payphones once stood.

Neiditch says the Atelier will have 100 more solar panels installed this year, which will increase their solar energy production by an additional 10 percent. This will free up a lot of spending and enable him to reinvest in other aspects of the building. Other building managers in the city are likely to follow this lead.

This lean toward solar energy as an alternative source of power might be motivated primarily by its economic benefits at the moment, but that is just part of the bigger picture. Regardless of the motivations, the slow but steady switch to solar power corresponds with the goal Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last year to increase solar power across the state by 10-fold by 2023.


Images via Brad Quick/CNBC.