The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is partnering with Westchester County to develop and implement solar photovoltaic and energy storage systems at seven county-owned properties, including bus garages, the Westchester County Courthouse and Hilltop Hanover Farm. The new systems are expected to offset more than 2,800 tons of greenhouse gases each year, which is equivalent to removing more than 600 cars from the road.
These projects were highlighted at a Westchester County and NYPA-hosted Clean Energy Forum at NYPA’s White Plains, New York, headquarters where local municipalities and school districts learned about available energy services and clean energy alternatives. The innovative new solar projects and renewable energy and financing services for municipalities offered at the forum support Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Green New Deal, a clean energy and jobs agenda that strives to achieve 100 percent clean electricity by 2040.
“Westchester County is leading the way when it comes to modeling sustainable actions and investing in clean, affordable power under Governor Cuomo’s clean energy policy,” says Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA’s president and CEO. “This major energy-saving partnership will reduce the county’s reliance on fossil fuels, generate significant cost savings and help protect our natural resources.”
Westchester County Executive George Latimer says, "We are facing a climate crisis and tangible progress, not just talking about it, is needed. That is why in New York State under Governor Cuomo, and here in Westchester, we are taking these major steps to implement innovative green energy solutions. The solarizing of County run facilities will both drastically reduce our carbon footprint and create jobs in this expanding field. I look forward to working with New York State and NYPA to make these laudable goals turn into reality.”
NYPA issued a public solicitation seeking proposals for a total 8 MW of distributed solar capacity with the ability to incorporate energy storage at multiple county-owned facilities. For these projects, the county and NYPA conducted preliminary assessments to identify the most feasible and appropriate locations to install solar PV systems. The project sites include county-owned buildings, and involve rooftop, ground-mounted, and parking lot canopy solar installation technologies. In addition, NYPA and the county requested through the solicitation, energy storage systems at several project sites to support a multitude of applications including demand charge reduction and peak load shaving. The solicitation closed on May 21 and the responses received are under evaluation. NYPA and the county anticipate selecting a developer and awarding the project this summer with construction expected to start in 2020.
Anticipated sites that will install solar panels include:
- Westchester County bus depot, Yonkers
- Valhalla bus garage, Valhalla
- Westchester County Archives, Elmsford
- Richard J. Daronco Courthouse annex, White Plains
- Westchester County Parks headquarters, Ardsley
- Hilltop Hanover Farm, Yorktown Heights
- Croton Point Park (parking lot canopy), Croton-on-Hudson
The projects will advance New York State’s clean energy goals and support Governor Cuomo’s call for a ramp up for 70 percent of electricity to come from renewable energy by 2030. NYPA is increasing its investments in clean energy resources to spark more renewable energy projects at public facilities across the state. Numerous projects are currently in the development stages or underway to bring more solar arrays to state and municipal facilities.
This Westchester solar initiative also follows on the recently announced $250 million Westchester Clean Energy Action Plan, which will provide immediate relief to Westchester County businesses and residents affected by Con Edison’s decision to suspend new natural gas connections. As part of the plan, NYPA has earmarked $32 million in low-cost financing services for its Westchester customers to pursue clean energy alternatives and retrofit heating systems where possible.
NYPA is supporting Westchester County by reviewing and evaluating the proposals, negotiating the contract terms and administering the power purchase agreement (PPA) execution and project installation phases. The array will be owned, operated and maintained by the developer and the electricity sold to the county or NYPA through the established agreement. Adding a storage system component would offset the county’s reliance on the electric grid and store power for use during emergencies and times of peak electricity demand.
The County and NYPA have plans for possible future solar growth to include additional sites such as Westchester County Airport, wastewater treatment plants and possibly landfills within the county.