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PR- 166-11
May 19, 2011


PlaNYC Initiative Will Generate Over Three Megawatts of Electricity – Enough to Power Roughly 660 Homes

First Ever Customer-Sided Solar Power Purchase Agreement in New York State Will Serve as Model for Future Projects

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Operations Stephen Goldsmith, Department of Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Edna Wells Handy and Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability Director David Bragdon announced today that the City is seeking proposals from private companies to install and operate solar energy systems on five city buildings, an important step towards accomplishing key clean energy supply initiatives in PlaNYC. Under this public-private partnership, a solar developer will install, own, and operate photovoltaic systems for 20 years, and leverage federal incentives to sell the electricity to the City at a discounted cost. The five sites are John F. Kennedy High School and Herbert Lehman High School, both in the Bronx; the Department of Sanitation’s Manhattan District 12 garage; and two locations in Staten Island: the Department of Environmental Protection’s Port Richmond wastewater treatment plant, and the Staten Island Ferry Bay Street Maintenance Building.

“Installing solar panels at these City buildings will help reduce the City’s carbon footprint and put our energy consumption on a more sustainable path,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We are proud to be the first ones in New York State to try this kind of partnership, because if we want to lead the way toward an environmentally-friendly future, we have to be willing to experiment and innovate. This kind of creativity is exactly what we need to meet the challenges that lie ahead, as we work to build a greener, greater City.”

“Partnering with the private sector to install solar panels on City buildings illustrates the City’s commitment to using renewable energy and supporting the renewable energy market in New York City,” said Deputy Mayor Goldsmith. “This initiative is a great example of how government can partner with the private sector to achieve mutually-beneficial results. We hope this partnership will become a model for other public-private partnerships in the City.”

“DCAS is doing its part to bolster the green economy by increasing the use of renewables in dense, urban areas and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Department of Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Handy. “This will be the first energy-related public-private partnership in the City, the first-ever customer-sided solar power purchase agreement in New York State, and one of DCAS’ many sustainability efforts.”

“Installing these solar panels will make our energy systems cleaner, reduce our carbon footprint and move us closer to achieving the goals laid out in PlaNYC for a greener, greater New York,” said Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability Director Bragdon. “Enlisting the innovation of the private sector is one of the creative ways we are working to achieve those goals, and we look forward to seeing pilot programs like this expand across the city.”

The five facilities selected for the program have characteristics needed for successful solar power generation, including large, flat new roofs; unobstructed access to the sun; and the structural integrity and appropriate electrical connections to accommodate a rooftop solar array. A customer-sided agreement is one in which the energy generation is located on the customer side of the meter, as opposed to utility-sided generation, which is located on the utility side of the meter and feeds directly into the utility grid.

Use of solar power and other renewable energy sources is a component of the City’s PlaNYC goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from government operations 30% by 2017. DCAS is already implementing 10 other City solar energy projects using Federal stimulus grants. The City is also using its own funding to install solar panels when they are found to be technically feasible and, when combined with other energy conservation measures through its audit and retrofit program, achieve a combined payback of 15 years or less.

Today’s announcement is the culmination of two years of research and consultation with New York City’s emerging solar industry. DCAS previously issued an RFP for privately operated solar panel systems in 2008, but was unable to make an award due to cost concerns. Following that process, DCAS issued a Request for Information (RFI) to the private sector to understand how to structure a customer-sided power purchase agreement to maximize the benefits to the city at a reasonable cost. Based on the feedback from the RFI, the City changed some terms of the RFP and commissioned its own engineering studies of qualifying City buildings to ensure the selected sites were fully suitable for hosting a solar array.

DCAS, through its Energy Management line of service, serves as the hub for energy management and works to ensure clean, reliable energy to support City government operations, and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of City agencies. For more information on Energy Management, visit


Stu Loeser/Julie Wood   (212) 788-2958


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