Staten Island is going green in a big way. Yesterday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the borough’s Freshkills Parks will be home to NYC’s largest solar energy installation. About 47 acres of land will be leased to SunEdison, a global provider of intelligent and green energy solutions, which will build and operate the massive solar power facility. The new plant will have the potential to generate up to 10 megawatts of power – increasing the city’s current renewable energy capacity by 50% and generating enough to power approximately 2,000 homes.

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Freshkills was once the site of Staten Island’s infamous garbage dump, but now the site will become an integral part of expanding the city’s renewable energy and parkland initiatives. The NYC Mayor’s office says the new photovoltaic system will increase the city’s renewable energy capacity by 50 percent. The new project is just the latest in a series of solar initiatives the city has launched in recent years as part of PlaNYC. The solar and wind facilities at Freshkills will help PlaNYC reach its goal of a 30-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Freshkills Park itself, meanwhile, is expected to add an additional 1,500 acres of parkland for a total of 2,200 acres. This achievement will also bring the total green space in New York City to more than 30,000 acres for the first time in history.

“Freshkills was once the site of the largest landfill in the world,” said Mayor Bloomberg in a statement. “Soon it will be one of the City’s largest parks, and the site of the largest solar power installation ever developed within the five boroughs.”

“Over the last twelve years we’ve restored wetlands and vegetation and opened new parks and soccer fields at the edges of the site,” Bloomberg continued. “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 urban renewal and sustainability.”

There’s no expected completion date for the Freshkills Park yet. However, the Department of Parks and Recreation intends to file an application to the Department of City Planning next month to formally map the additional 1,500 acres of parkland as part of the Freshkills site.

+ Freshkills Park

Images © NYC Mayor’s Office