NEW YORK: The NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) has announced the selection of two firms today, to install rooftop solar arrays on nearly 50 public places. The public places includes schools across the five boroughs, the Wards Island Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility in Manhattan, and three other water treatment facilities in Westchester, Delaware, and Ulster counties.
The solar arrays will generate as much as 22 megawatts of solar power, enough to power 5,600 NYC residences, and reduce nearly 7,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent each year, which equates to removing more than 1,500 cars from city streets.
Several of these facilities are expected to include energy storage systems that will store energy for use during periods of peak electricity demand. During peak demand, prices increase and dirtier energy sources are activated to meet the additional demand. Ameresco, a Framingham, Mass. headquartered clean technology integrator, and ENGIE North America with national headquarters in Houston, have been selected as the project developers.
“Our schools are not only tackling climate change in the classroom, but also on the rooftop,” said Lisette Camilo, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services. “New solar installations on schools and other public facilities will generate green energy that will help achieve Mayor de Blasio’s goal of reducing citywide emissions 80 percent by 2050.”
“Solar plus storage projects, especially on such a scale as these projects, will help both New York State and New York City work in lockstep to boost the availability of renewable power and achieve our mutual green energy goals,” said NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones.
“Bringing solar energy to New York City facilities in diverse neighborhoods will help supply affordable, clean and reliable electricity throughout the five boroughs and support the state mandate for a 100 percent carbon-free electricity sector by 2040.”
The solar installations are currently planned for 47 NYC Department of Education (DOE) buildings spanning all five boroughs. Carbon emissions from public schools account for nearly one-third of emissions from the City’s building portfolio.
Adding solar to schools provides carbon emissions reduction potential as well as opportunities for students to learn about the importance of sustainability and climate action. This project will incorporate a new clean power source into the school district’s infrastructure and allow the City to purchase power generated on-site as opposed to purchasing power from a utility company that may not use a renewable source.
At the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Wards Island facility, a combination of ground-mounted, carport, rooftop and elevated canopy solar PV systems will be installed throughout the eight-facility complex, totaling over seven megawatts of solar PV capacity.
Solar power generated will serve the loads of the plant, and a battery energy storage system will reduce peak energy demand. An additional 1.5 megawatts of capacity is expected to be installed at three City-owned facilities in the watershed, including the Catskill-Delaware Ultraviolet Light Disinfection Facility in Valhalla.
ENGIE will design, construct, own and operate the solar PV systems at the DOE sites while Ameresco will perform the same tasks at Wards Island and the other DEP sites. NYPA, acting as the clean energy advisor, will manage the projects to ensure they progress on budget and on time. The developers were selected through a competitive bidding process announced last June.
The City and NYPA conducted site assessments to identify the most feasible and appropriate locations to install solar PV systems to help the City achieve its renewable energy goals. Selected locations, amounting to nearly 70 percent of the total capacity, also support the State and City’s efforts to advance environmental justice as many of the sites are in areas with poorer air quality and lower median incomes. The project sites are anticipated to be interconnected behind the meter to buildings’ electrical systems.
This initiative will help achieve Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal of installing 100 MW of solar power on public buildings by 2025 and reducing citywide emissions 80 percent by 2050. The initiative will also help achieve Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s statewide goal of having 70 percent of New York’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030 and an 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
NYPA will administer 20-year power purchase agreements for the City to buy the electricity output from each of the projects being managed by Ameresco and ENGIE.
Kevin Moran, Chief School Operations Officer for the NYC Department of Education, said, “Student activism, lessons in our classrooms, and now solar panels on roofs are all evidence of our commitment to combating the effects of global warming. The young people of today are the inheritors of our planet and it is our obligation to do everything in our power to leave them with a livable, vibrant world and we are proud to join with our partner agencies to take this step in building on our commitment.”
Vincent Sapienza, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, said, “For many decades DEP has used its water and wastewater facilities to produce renewable energy and these new projects expand on our commitment to protecting our natural resources. DEP’s campus-style facilities are unique and prime real estate for megawatt-scale solar projects and we will continue to look for new ways to expand our renewable energy portfolio.”
Stefaan Sercu, Chief Cities & Communities and Operations Officer, ENGIE North America, said, “New York has set ambitious sustainability objectives that require significant investment and collective action to accomplish.
With two-thirds of people expected to live in cities by 2050, we know that public private partnerships centered on clean energy play a key role in shaping a more sustainable and equitable future. As the DCAS/NYPA program begins, our team is proud to help local communities achieve climate goals outlined in the NY Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.”
David J. Anderson, Executive Vice President and Director, Ameresco, said, “We commend the Leadership of the City of New York, DCAS, DEP, DOE, and NYPA for their commitment to move this significant portfolio of projects forward, and are thrilled to be selected as a partner to deliver some of the most significant renewable energy projects New York City has ever undertaken, including the Ward Island Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility.
We are excited to extend our partnership with the City of New York and NYPA and support this monumental movement that will advance solar PV and battery energy storage technologies within these critical public facilities as well as contribute to the City’s and State’s carbon reduction and resiliency goals.”
Operation of the systems is expected to come online throughout 2021 and 2022.