A huge solar array planned for Staten Island is expected to increase New York City’s renewable energy capacity by 50 percent.
The solar power station is due to be built in Freshkills Park, where around 47 acres of parkland will be leased to the company SunEdison to build and operate the system, which is expected to produce enough energy to power more than 2,000 homes.
Announcing the project this week, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said: “Over the last 12 years, we’ve restored wetlands and vegetation and opened new parks and soccer fields at the edges of the site. Thanks to the agreement today, we will increase the amount of solar energy produced in New York City by 50 percent, and it is only fitting that Freshkills, once a daily dumping ground, will become a showcase of urban renewal and sustainability.”
New York City’s bold sustainability plan
A push to increase green energy and reduce emissions is integral to the city’s sustainability strategy, PlaNYC, which also includes a goal of replacing all the city’s street lights with energy-efficient LED lighting by 2017.
Officials said the solar array would boost understanding of how more renewables can integrate into local energy networks to become a key part of the city’s energy supply.
“Developing solar energy on Freshkills Park shows that large-scale renewable energy projects are possible in New York City, but this is only a first step,” said Cas Holloway, New York City’s deputy mayor for operations. “If we are serious about meeting New York City’s tremendous energy needs from renewable sources, we need the state and federal governments, as well as our utility partners and others in the private sector, to work with us to make solar and other renewable energies easier to develop, install and access the energy grid.”
Solar energy’s bright future
Solar energy is becoming increasingly mainstream in the United States. In October, more than 99 percent of all new electric generation placed in service came from renewables, with solar making up the vast majority.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) says 12 new solar units accounted for 504 MW or around 72 percent of all new capacity in October, as the effects of policies such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) start to pay dividends.
The country now has more than 9,400 MW of cumulative solar electric capacity installed — enough to power more than 1.5 million homes — and that number is expected to hit nearly 13,000 MW by the end of this year.
This story originally appeared at BusinessGreen.com.
New York City photo by Joshua Haviv via Shutterstock