Customer Release – NYC DCAS Doubles City’s Total Solar Capacity in Less Than Three Years Announces Agreement with NYPA to Expand Clean Energy Generation at NYC Public Schools and NYC Department of Environmental Protection Wastewater Resource Recovery Facilities
The City’s Solar Capacity Will Grow From 22 Megawatts to More Than 50 Megawatts, Through the DCAS/NYPA Solar Project
10 MW Solar Installation Will Be Largest Clean Energy Installation at a Wastewater Treatment Facility Anywhere in the World
NEW YORK – NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) Commissioner Dawn M. Pinnock today announced that since November 2020, the City of New York has completed 10 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) projects on City properties; doubling the City’s total capacity to a total of 22 MW. This achievement equates to removing over 1,500 cars from city streets per year and reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions by 8,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e).
Commissioner Pinnock, together with the New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Justin E. Driscoll, also announced that construction will begin this fall to install solar PV systems at over 60 City-owned buildings in Brooklyn and Queens. Through an agreement between the City and the state Power Authority, this work will add over 30 MW of solar PV generating capacity and up to 10 MW of large-scale battery storage to provide energy to power City operations. The 60-plus City-owned buildings will be made up of New York City public school rooftops and six Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) wastewater resource recovery facilities (WRRFs), including installations at the Wards Island WRRF, which is projected to be the largest clean energy installation at a wastewater treatment facility anywhere in the world. The addition of these clean energy installations along with other active solar installations will bring the City’s total solar capacity to 70 MW after construction is complete. By the end of 2025, DCAS will be providing the annual electricity equivalent of roughly 11,500 NYC homes.
“As we mark Climate Week, New York City remains committed to leading on sustainability issues,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “With new solar arrays being deployed to more than 60 City-owned buildings, we are rapidly scaling up our solar capacity to meet our emissions targets, and prioritizing deployment to environmental justice communities. We thank NYPA for their partnership in building a cleaner, greener future for all New Yorkers.”
“This agreement to install solar systems across our City-owned properties shows our commitment to reduce our emissions and leverage our city assets in impactful ways. Thanks to the partnership between the City and NYPA, we will double the City’s total solar capacity and set an example of the powerful benefits that come from working together and not in siloes,” said First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright.
“Together with our state partners, New York City is leading by example and taking on the challenge of transitioning to a zero-emissions energy supply with continued creativity on how to maximize our existing assets,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “Today’s commitment will provide our public school students with the opportunity to participate in tangible climate action at their own schools and foster the climate leaders of tomorrow.”
“In three years, we’ve seen our solar capacity double, demonstrating our commitment to combatting climate change. The City of New York is leading by example, and we are proud of our progress in reducing carbon emissions, adding innovative technology, and installing clean energy systems,” said DCAS Commissioner Dawn M. Pinnock. “We are truly excited for this new phase in our continued partnership with NYPA to expand our solar portfolio at New York City public schools. This work will also help us support DEP with building its climate infrastructure for the future. Together, we are making our city greener and more sustainable.”
“New York City Public Schools are not only the centers of our communities but the home of roughly 80% of the city’s total installed solar capacity, across over 80 sites in the five boroughs,” said Schools Chancellor David C. Banks. “This new installation will expand this important work in the years to come, and New York City Public Schools is proud to help facilitate our shift to a greener and more sustainable city.”
“As we mobilize all New Yorkers to take the steps necessary to fight climate change and save the planet, City government is leading by example by creating clean, renewable solar energy that can power more than 6,000 homes,” said NYC Chief Climate Officer and DEP Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala. “DEP’s wastewater resource recovery facilities already play an indispensable role in protecting the environment and now we will utilize their substantial footprint to generate clean energy for the whole city.”
“Bringing solar systems to school rooftops and other city facilities involves our communities and neighborhoods in the generation of renewable energy and encourages an understanding of urban sustainable practices that can benefit us all,” said Power Authority President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll. “With this major solar project, New York City and New York State are working together to set a nationwide example – using underutilized spaces on public properties to achieve our shared goal of transitioning to zero-emissions energy resources.”
The Power Authority’s Distributed Energy Resources Advisory Services team is serving as energy advisor for the project and helped manage the competitive bidding process to ensure specifications were included. The NYPA DER team will continue to provide guidance and oversight throughout the development of the project.
The project supports New York State’s ambitious clean energy goals, specified in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), the state’s Climate Act, which calls for 70 percent of the State’s electricity to be sourced from renewable energy by 2030.
- I.S. 49, Brooklyn, New York
- I.S. 125 Thom J. McCann Woodside, Queens, New York
- P.S. 175 The Lynn Gross Discovery School, Queens, New York
- J.H.S. 185 Edward Bleeker, Queens, New York
- I.S. 227 Louis Armstrong, Queens, New York
School Construction Authority President and CEO Nina Kubota said: “The SCA is delivering for our students, communities, and climate by including solar panels at 29 new buildings currently under construction. Our architects and engineers are thinking outside of the box finding innovative solutions, and already drastically cutting carbon emissions at schools. Moving forward, we are also committing to building all-electric new school buildings to remain at the forefront of researching and developing buildings that provide our children with the sustainable future that they so richly deserve.”
In addition to the projects atop City school buildings, there will be installations at DEP sites including the Wards Island WRRF. Upon completion in 2025, this installation will provide 10 MW of solar PV capacity and 5 MW of large-scale battery energy storage, making it the largest clean energy installation at a wastewater treatment facility anywhere in the world. The installation will build solar canopies over aeration tanks, an innovative and challenging design and construction that is unlike typical solar rooftop installations the City has completed in the past.
Design proposals of the DEP Wards Island Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility created by Ameresco, which will serve as the developer of the solar PV projects.
“As the City’s Chief Decarbonization Officer, I’m excited to be a part of the strides we are making in reducing carbon emissions. Not only have we doubled our solar capacity, but with the imminent construction of these solar projects, the City of New York is exemplifying what it means to lead in field of innovative sustainability,” said Chief Decarbonization Officer Sana Barakat.
“We are witnessing a remarkable transformation in New York City’s commitment to clean energy through the doubling of the city’s solar capacity in less than three years,” said Ameresco Executive Vice President, Pete Christakis. “The DCAS/NYPA Solar Project represents a significant step forward, and with the addition of these clean energy installations, we are not only reducing emissions but also setting a global example for sustainable urban practices. Ameresco is proud to be a part of this partnership that provides enrichment opportunities in STEM education, supports local job creation, and will deliver clean renewable energy for a greener, more sustainable future for the city.”
“I want to congratulate the City on its impressive achievements to increase renewable energy production at public buildings, said Local Union No. 3, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Business Manager, Christopher Erikson. We are proud that the new solar and battery storage installations at New York City schools and water infrastructure sites that were announced today will be constructed by the highly skilled members of Local 3 IBEW; union jobs that support middle-class families in the five boroughs and beyond that foster diversity, equity and inclusion. We relish the opportunity to work with the City and the New York Power Authority to build the green economy and solve the climate crisis.”
“The City is making tremendous progress towards reaching its clean energy goals, said New York Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) Executive Secretary, Edwin Lopez. The new solar and energy storage projects announced today, which will be constructed by Local Union No. 3, IBEW affiliated contractors and members of NECA, are game changers. The world will look to New York City as the leader in developing clean energy systems in dense urban environments, and we are proud to support that effort.
In 2021, the City of New York and NYPA announced that Ameresco, Inc. was selected through a competitive bidding process to serve as the developer for these projects. Work on these projects will bring union opportunities for electricians including members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 3.
Through Local Law 97 of 2019, the City of New York is mandated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030 with an interim reduction of 40% by 2025. Through these installations at City facilities, the clean energy assets will reduce carbon emissions from fossil-fuel generated electricity by 13,000 MTCO2e annually after the work is completed. These installations will expand the City’s renewable energy and energy storage systems, which are critical to the City’s transition to more sustainable energy while also providing reliability benefits to the community.
“Queens knows full well the damage being caused by climate change, so I am very pleased by the progress the City has made toward reducing its carbon emissions through the generation of solar power,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “I’m even more pleased about the 60 additional buildings in Queens and Brooklyn that will be receiving solar power systems in the near future. Queens is proud to be at the forefront of the clean energy revolution.”
“I am thrilled to see the impressive progress made by NYC DCAS in doubling the city’s total solar capacity in such a short period. This landmark announcement signifies our commitment to sustainable and clean energy in New York City. The agreement with the New York Power Authority to expand clean energy generation at our public schools and wastewater resource recovery facilities is a significant step toward achieving our renewable energy goals. It not only promotes a greener environment but also supports job creation and economic growth. I commend all those involved in making this initiative a reality and look forward to the positive impact it will have on our community,” said New York State Senator Kevin Parker.
About the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services
- Recruiting, hiring, and training City employees.
- Managing 55 public buildings.
- Acquiring, selling, and leasing City property.
- Purchasing over $1 billion in goods and services for City agencies.
- Overseeing the greenest municipal vehicle fleet in the country.
- Leading the City’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions from government operations.
About the NYC Department of Environmental Protection
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water each day to nearly 10 million residents, including 8.5 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP also protects the health and safety of New Yorkers by enforcing the Air and Noise Codes and asbestos rules. DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $31.3 billion in investments over the next 10 years. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
About the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Sustainability
Located in the NYC DOE’s Division of School Facilities, the DOE Office of Sustainability drives transformative change in all NYC schools through resources and programs that increase efficiency of facilities, address environmental impacts, and aim to provide all stakeholders with opportunities for action. Education is integral to their work to deliver purposeful and comprehensive stakeholder engagement, greater climate resiliency, expanded climate literacy, and opportunities for student empowerment to better ensure social equity and a healthy environment for all generations.
NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 80 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. NYPA finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. For more information visit www.nypa.gov and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and LinkedIn.
About the SCA
The School Construction Authority’s (SCA) mission is to design and construct safe, attractive, and environmentally sound public schools for children throughout the many communities of New York City. We are dedicated to building and modernizing schools in a responsible, cost-effective manner while achieving the highest standards of excellence in safety, quality, and integrity.
Established by the New York State Legislature in December 1988, the SCA has provided over 322,600 new school seats to New York City students, and protected, repaired, and upgraded over 1,800 schools in over 1,400 school buildings with over 12,500 capital improvement projects.
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