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NEWS Last modified on January 18, 2019

Community solar power projects planned at New York-JFK

The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's request to proceed with renewable solar power projects at John F Kennedy International Airport, which will help the agency meet its aggressive greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals.

PSC’s action allows the Port Authority, in collaboration with New York Power Authority (NYPA), to move forward with plans to create more than 10 megawatts of on-site solar facilities at JFK, including a five megawatt solar generation facility that will offer power at reduced rates to nearby communities.

Residents, particularly those in low-income neighbourhoods, would have first access to purchase solar-generated renewable energy at a reduced rate from their normal utility bill. 

The facility would be sited on a portion of JFK’s long-term parking lot.

“The implementation of Community Solar is growing and will now be accessible for homeowners and renters around John F Kennedy International Airport,” enthuses Port Authority chairman, Kevin O’Toole.

“The Port Authority will continue designing similar programmes that are intended to support communities that seek renewable energy, while reducing emissions across the agency.”

While PANYNJ's executive director, Rick Cotton, notes: “Creating a major solar power project is an important step for the Port Authority’s mission to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and what’s more, it will benefit the community surrounding JFK Airport.

“Community Solar power at JFK builds on Governor Cuomo’s sustainability efforts at the state level, while enhancing the agency’s capability to be a good neighboyr by helping nearby residents obtain more affordable and cleaner energy.”

The project is part of the agency’s interim target to lower GHG emissions 35% by 2025 and long-term reduction goal of 80% by 2050.

JFK’s solar initiative is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 4,374 tons annually.

The initiative follows October's decision by the PANYNJ to become the first transportation in the US to embrace the Paris Climate Agreement.

The Port Authority expects to develop the Community Solar project by entering into a lease agreement with a solar developer, which would construct a large solar array over a portion of JFK’s long-term parking lot.

In addition to the five megawatt Community Solar project, the Port Authority will seek to develop an additional 5-8 megawatt solar system at the site for the Port Authority’s own consumption at JFK, which will support its vision for the new, best-in-class JFK development to exemplify green, sustainable design and operation.

The Community Solar developer would design, build, own, operate and maintain the system, and arrange for sale of the electricity to residents.

Solar panels would be placed atop a canopy structure built over a portion of the parking area. 



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