Solar generated energy is becoming one of the most common means of heat and electricity production throughout the country. Not only is solar power environmentally friendly, but its potential cost in savings, tax credit eligibility, and ability to reduce demand on major electrical grids has attracted the attention of major developers and homeowners in cities across the country. New York City is no exception, with solar energy projects growing a tremendous 2,951% since 2011 across the city’s five boroughs
New York City’s lead in the solar energy game comes as no surprise following Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious goal to cut all greenhouse gas emissions within the city 80% by 2050, as well as Governor Andrew Cuomo’s aim to require half of New York State’s total energy to come from renewable sources by 2030 under of the NY-Sun Initiative (part of the Governor’s larger Reforming the Energy Vision Framework plan). Below are some of the city’s largest solar power projects operating today.
5. Sustainable CUNY (City University of New York)
The CUNY System (City University of New York) is a leader in solar power initiatives in the city. Developed as a collaborative with the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey, the projected serves as a means of reducing energy utility costs, improving energy efficiency, and institutionalizing environmental awareness for the entire public university system.
Sustainable CUNY was one of the first major actors in the city’s solar power transition, working with Con Edison to map solar power “strategic zones” for maximized usefulness in each borough. Over the past decade CUNY has joined forces with the City of New York and New York City Economic Development Council (NYCEDC) to develop and implement action plans vital to moving New York City in the right direction.
CUNY has taken a strong role at home, making environmental sustainability a cornerstone of its mission. In 2012, CUNY’s thirteen senior colleges were tasked with developing individual campus energy budgets. According to CUNY, Campus Sustainability Plans were designed around eight pillars of sustainability to create actionable steps in reaching the system and the state’s environmental goals.
While the thirteen senior colleges of the CUNY system were given full control over their energy plans in 2012, these budgets will in turn serve as the foundation of future Sustainable CUNY Conserves. Using these pillars, campus sustainability plans identified over 800 actions to be taken within the system to creating a healthier, more sustainable future for students and the city.
CUNY has continued its work in reducing both its and the city’s collective carbon footprint. In November of 2017, the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) became the site of the largest public solar panel installation in Manhattan, with the capability of generating 1,000 kilo Watt hours (kWh) [amount of energy consumed] of electricity per day.
According to BMCC/CUNY, up to 200 kWh of added power will be stored as backup power for cases of extreme weather or stress on the site’s utilities. The remainder will be released back into the city’s main electrical grid.