Mayor de Blasio has just unveiled three large solar projects that will launch NYC closer to achieving its ambitious goal of reducing city emissions by 80 percent by 2050. The three large solar arrays installed on City Hall, the Port Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant and Daniel D. Tompkins Elementary School in Staten Island are all operational as of this week.


The solar projects are part of the mayor’s plan to cut 80 percent of the city’s greenhouse emissions from 2005 levels by 2050. Considering New York buildings account for nearly three-quarters of the city’s emissions, the green initiative, as part of the One City, Built to Last plan, focuses on retrofitting every single public building in the city.

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“We committed to retrofitting every public building as part of our sweeping goal of an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050 – because climate change is nothing less than an existential threat and New York City must continue to lead the way,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Tripling the amount of solar currently on City buildings is a crucial part of our plan. I’m proud that City Hall is setting an example for other City buildings as we reduce our emissions, and we will continue to expand solar and other renewable sources of energy to ensure a greener, cleaner, and more sustainable city.”

The three solar installations were completed by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services in collaboration with the Department of Design and Construction and various city agencies. Installing the PV panels atop City Hall was an especially significant step as it will serve as a model of how the city’s many historic buildings can be retrofitted to use less energy.

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As part of the ongoing renovations of City Hall, the building’s electrical system was overhauled with a high-efficiency fuel cell, which allows the building to reduce its draw from the electrical grid. This cell, along with the new rooftop solar photovoltaic array will now supply 30 percent of the building’s electricity needs. Additionally exciting is that the new solar retrofit will complement the LEED Silver energy efficiency rehabilitation of the historic building.

The solar installations on the other two buildings, The Port Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant and Daniel D. Tompkins Elementary School (P.S. 69), are also significant. The 1.26 megawatt rooftop installation on the treatment plant will be the largest solar installation on any NYC building and is expected to offset 10-percent of the plant’s electricity consumption.

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Daniel D. Tompkins Elementary School (P.S. 69) will be the first public school in NYC to be equipped with solar panels following de Blasio’s announcement last year that all 24 city schools would be installed with solar panels. As of this week, the school’s solar installation, which consists of 660 panels, is fully operational and generates 204 kilowatts of capacity.

Completion of the solar installations at the remaining 23 schools is expected by mid-2016 and is estimated to contribute approximately 6 megawatts of renewable energy capacity. Once finished, the project will be another major step towards the city’s goal of generating 100 megawatts of energy from city buildings by 2025.

+ Bill de Blasio

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