New York Governor: Agreements for Solar & Energy Storage Systems

Governor Hochul Announces Agreements for Solar and Energy Storage Systems at 47 New York City Public Schools, Water Treatment Facilities

New York (STL.News) Governor Kathy Hochul announced the signing of power purchase agreements (PPAs) that will advance plans to place solar arrays on 47 public schools and several water treatment facilities in New York City and pave the way to a construction start in early 2022.  The joint project between the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) will generate more than 25 megawatts (MW) of power from rooftop solar arrays and include up to 6.6 MW of energy storage.  The portfolio will advance New York State’s clean energy targets as outlined in the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) and help achieve more than 25 percent of New York City’s goal of implementing 100 MW of solar PV systems on City-owned properties by 2025 as part of its commitment to reduce citywide emissions 80 percent by 2050.

“With extreme weather events increasing in frequency, New York needs to take every possible opportunity to address climate change,” said Governor Hochul.  “This transformational investment in solar and energy storage will help New York meet our bold green energy goals and chart a cleaner future.

DCAS and NYPA selected two firms to install rooftop solar arrays on 47 public schools across the five boroughs operated by the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE), the Wards Island Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility in Manhattan, and several other water treatment facilities operated by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in Westchester, Delaware County in the Southern Tier and Ulster County in the Mid-Hudson region. The solar arrays will generate more than 25 MW of solar power, enough to power 1,297 NYC residences, and help offset more than 7,100 metric tons of CO2 equivalent each year, which equates to removing more than 1,553 cars from city streets.  Some facilities will include energy storage systems that store energy for use during periods of peak electricity demand.

Chairman of NYPA’s Board of Trustees John R. Koelmel said, “This school solar project will help advance the ambitious clean energy goals set by both New York State and the City.  The Power Authority is proud to work alongside our New York City agencies, and especially throughout the New York City school system, to build a cleaner, greener energy system for all New Yorkers.  Working with schools allows us to set a good example for young people who we hope will be the sustainability and clean energy leaders of tomorrow.”

With the NYPA Board of Trustee’s action today authorizing the execution of PPAs with the solar developers and New York City, NYPA, has the go-ahead to act as the City’s clean energy advisor, managing the projects to ensure they progress on budget and on time.

Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services Lisette Camilo said, “The climate crisis is not a distant threat – it is happening here and now.  That is why the City of New York set an ambitious goal to generate 100 MW of solar power on City properties.  The solar installations we’re putting in motion today bring us one step closer to achieving the City’s solar goal.”

The PPAs are with ENGIE North America, Ameresco, Inc., and the City of New York for the purchase of the electricity output from the solar and energy storage systems.  ENGIE will design, construct, own and operate the solar PV systems at the NYC DOE sites.  Ameresco will perform the same tasks at the DEP sites.  The developers were selected in 2020 through an open, competitive bidding process.  Construction will start in early 2022 and the systems will be phased into operation in 2022 and 2023.

The initiative will accelerate progress under the state’s Climate Act, the most ambitious emissions-reduction legislation in the nation, which calls for 10,000 megawatts of distributed solar and 3,000 megawatts of energy storage by 2030 and also support the state mandate for 70 percent of New York’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030.

Many of the sites are in areas with poorer air quality and households with lower median incomes.  The solar arrays will provide a new clean energy resource for power generation lessening the need to use power generated at fossil fuel plants. The school sites are located in racially and economically diverse neighborhoods throughout all five boroughs.  The sites were chosen based on the technical viability of installing solar technology on their roofs.

The Wards Island facility, located on Wards Island separated from Manhattan by the Harlem River and from Queens by the East River, will employ a combination of ground mounted, carport, rooftop, and elevated canopy solar PV systems throughout the eight-facility complex to achieve the bulk of the solar PV capacity – 11 MW.  Power generated will serve the loads of the plant and a potential battery energy storage system will reduce peak energy demand.

DOE Chancellor Meisha Porter said, “New York City schools are leading the way in sustainability and educating our young people about the importance of environmental stewardship.  This project will help create a greener future for the entire community, reduce our carbon footprint, and inspire countless students to take an active role in protecting our planet.”

DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said, “For many decades DEP has utilized its water and wastewater facilities to produce renewable energy and these projects expand on our commitment to maximizing their clean energy potential. 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.”

Senator Kevin Parker said, “Solar arrays and battery storage are key strategies to help us meet our goals of 10,000 megawatts of solar and 3,000 megawatts of storage by 2030.  NYPA’s program with New York City schools and DEP sites will benefit our neighborhoods, allow us to rely less on fossil fuel power generation sources, and move us one step closer to a clean energy economy.”

Assemblymember Michael Cusick said, “We’ve set bold goals to address climate change and it programs like this one with New York City schools and agencies that will get us across the finish line.  Putting solar arrays on our public buildings in New York City is a win for our communities, our kids, and our climate.”