As one of several states leading the charge in community solar, New York is frequently adding new projects to its portfolio. The latest, the largest community solar site with storage in the state, was just authorized by the Port Authority Board of Commissioners. New York’s newest community solar installation is an onsite system planned for John F. Kennedy International Airport. Along with a storage facility, the project will include a carport canopy that will provide cover for around 3,000 parking spots.
The Long Term Parking Lot 9 canopy will house 12.3-megawatts worth of solar arrays. Additionally, the project will include a 5 to 7.5-megawatt storage battery. According to plans for the project, it is expected to reduce carbon emissions by upwards of 5,300 metric tons each year. Though the nation was pulled from the Paris Climate Agreement, the Port Authority Board has continued efforts to achieve the goals set by the accord.
Rick Cotton, the Port Authority’s executive director, stated that the new canopy system is a sign of the authority’s dedication to a cleaner environment. Cotton also noted that the authority is in favor of projects that will support the local community through affordable electricity and job creation.
Proposals were initially requested in April 2019 by the Port Authority and New York Power Authority. After selecting a team in September 2019, a public announcement was made in the following November. SunPower Corporation and Goldman Sachs Renewable Power LLC make up the chosen project team, with SunPower developing the site through Goldman Sachs’ financing.
According to the agreement, the project team will pay all construction costs, which are estimated at $56 million. Neither the Port Authority nor the power authority will be responsible for any upfront costs. The current timetable is a completion date of 2022, with construction starting in 2021.
Upon completion, the energy generated at the solar site will be used to serve underserved communities, low- and middle-income homeowners, and local small businesses. By subscribing to the canopy site, participants will be eligible to receive monthly credits on their utility bills as part of the New York Community Solar Program.
Subscriptions for the JFK community solar installation are expected to start in mid-2022.