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Ahead Of Earth Day, Mayor de Blasio Announces Three New Operational Solar Installations - Including at City Hall - Key Component of Green Buildings Plan

April 21, 2015

City Completes Largest Solar Installation on a City Facility at Port Richmond, First of 24 Installations at Public Schools

NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio today announced three new solar installations on City buildings as part of the Administration’s green buildings plan, taking another step toward dramatically reducing the City’s contributions to climate change. The three solar installations, completed by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services in collaboration with the Department of Design and Construction and other City agencies, are located at City Hall, the Port Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant, and Daniel D. Tompkins Elementary School in Staten Island.

These new solar projects are part of a larger commitment by the City to an 80 percent reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions over 2005 levels by 2050 – the largest city in the world to make that commitment – starting with a sweeping green buildings plan, One City, Built to Last. Buildings account for nearly three-quarters of the City’s greenhouse gas emissions. Mayor de Blasio has committed to retrofitting every single public building with significant energy use by 2025, including installing 100 MW of solar power.

“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 work at City Hall, combining improved energy efficiency and resiliency with distributed energy resources is emblematic of the City’s approach to lead by example by upgrading every major energy-consuming public building over the next ten years,” said DCAS Commissioner Stacey Cumberbatch.

The solar installation at City Hall demonstrates how a landmarked building can be retrofitted and upgraded to use less energy. During the ongoing renovations of the building, the City took the opportunity to reduce the building’s draw on the electrical grid by installing a high efficiency fuel cell that produces electricity from natural gas without combustion, and a rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installation, which was operational as of Friday, April 17. The solar panels complement the LEED Silver energy efficiency rehabilitation of this historic structure. The installation of the solar PV system, together with the fuel cell, will supply 30 percent of the electricity needs of the building, reducing strain on the electrical grid – particularly on hot summer days when electricity to run air conditioners is in high demand and the possibility of power outages are most prevalent.

The Port Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant on Staten Island represents the largest solar installation on any City building, and the 1.26 megawatt rooftop installation is expected to offset 10 percent of the Plant’s electricity load. This project is the fourth and final installation under DCAS’s pilot solar Power Purchase Agreement, through which the City has installed a total of 1.85 MW. The other PPA projects, completed in 2014, are located at John F. Kennedy Campus High School in the Bronx, Herbert Lehman High School in the Bronx, and the Staten Island Ferry Maintenance Facility, which is adjacent to St. George Terminal on Staten Island.

Daniel D. Tompkins Elementary School, or P.S. 69, is the first school to complete a solar installation following Mayor de Blasio’s announcement last year that solar panels would be installed at 24 City schools. As of this week, the P.S. 69 solar installation is fully connected and operational, consisting of 660 panels totaling 204 kilowatts of capacity. The amount of electricity generated is equivalent to 41 percent of the total electricity used by the whole school based on 2015 school electricity usage, which represents a major reduction in the expected amount of electricity saved by this project.

The installation at P.S. 69 is the first completed project of 24 planned solar installations at City schools announced by Mayor de Blasio in September 2014. Two other schools are currently under construction, and six are in the final design phase, with construction starts expected in the next few months. The 24 new installations will be completed in partnership with the New York Power Authority and the Department of Education. The completion of all 24 projects is expected by mid-2016, and is expected to contribute nearly 6 megawatts of renewable generation capacity – representing a critical step toward achieving of the City’s goal of 100 megawatts of clean energy installed on City buildings by 2025. The solar installations at 24 schools will be paired with an environmental curriculum plan, including dashboards and web portals where students can track in real time what the systems are generating and the amount of emissions that have been offset, and undertake related analyses of the systems’ impacts.

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