As part of Climate Week, Governor Kathy Hochul today announced four gigawatts of distributed solar—community, residential, small commercial, and industrial projects—have been installed across the state, enough to power more than 710,000 homes, underscoring New York’s leadership in growing one of the strongest solar markets in the nation. Since the launch of the NY-Sun initiative, the cost of solar in New York has declined by 70 percent as solar deployment has grown nearly 2,900 percent statewide, all while helping to drive $6.4 billion in private investment and foster more than 12,000 jobs across the state. When combined with the projects under development and moving toward commercial operation, achieving today’s milestone puts New York on track to exceed its goal to install six gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025 and progress toward 10 gigawatts by 2030. GovernorU.S. Climate Alliance leaders joined Governor Hochul in the historic announcement today from the roof of the Javits Center, where they applauded progress in installing the most enormous rooftop solar array in Manhattan. A video of the installation overview can be viewed here. A time-lapse video of the building can be viewed here.
“We are laser-focused on the battle against climate change, and our nation-leading advancement of renewable energy is supercharging New York’s economy while creating an equitable and healthier future for all New Yorkers,” Governor Hochul said, “This achievement is a testament to our successful partnership with communities and industry alike to get these projects built in every corner of the state and ensures more families and businesses will benefit from clean, affordable solar power for years to come. I am proud to announce today from the Javits Center, which is home to Manhattan’s largest single-rooftop solar array with an accompanying battery storage system and is setting an example for other urban commercial buildings of how to be on the cutting-edge of our clean energy future.”
New York’s progress from three to four gigawatts of distributed solar installations across the state was the fastest gigawatt-to-gigawatt increase to date, taking more than a year to achieve. It has been grounded in the state’s productivity coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic—with more than 1,200 megawatts of capacity installed through the first half of 2022, enough to power nearly 217,000 homes. Most of the new distributed solar has been supported with more than $289 million in NY-Sun incentives that leveraged $1.5 billion in private investment.
The 1,400 solar panels on the Javits Center’s green roof, which also serves as a habitat for area wildlife, will be supplemented by a 3.5-megawatt battery storage system. The project results from a public-private partnership between the Javits Center, the New York Power Authority (NYPA), and Siemens Industry, Inc. The system is the largest single rooftop solar project and will include one of Manhattan’s highest-capacity battery energy storage systems. The completion of the solar installation also coincides with the resurgence of event activity at the Javits Center following the height of the pandemic, when it served as an emergency field hospital that treated nearly 1,100 New Yorkers and then as the largest vaccination site in the United States that distributed more than 646,000 vaccines to New Yorkers in less than six months.
Since August 2021, after construction of the Javits Center’s 1.2 multimillion-square-flotation was completed and event operations resumed, 40 events have been held in the expansion, known as Javits North. Activity is continuing to grow, with 49 events booked at the iconic venue on Manhattan’s West Side from September to December 2022 — a 14% increase compared to the same period in 2021. From new corporate galas and fundraisers to trade shows and conventions, the increase in event activity can be attributed to significant infrastructure investments across the region, including a major expansion of the Javits Center, and and recent transformations of LaGuardia Airport and the Moynihan Train Hall. Events held at the Javits Center can attract up to 39,000 companies from the worldwide year, generate up to $2 billion of annual economic activity and support up to 18,000 jobs statewide, directly and indirectly. From West 34th to West 40th streets between 11th and 12th avenues, the expanded Javits Center features more than 200,000 square feet of new meeting and pre-function space, including The Overview, a 54,000 square-foot particular event space, well as a glass-enclosed rooftop pavilion and terrace overlooking the Hudson River. A one-acre rooftop farm and greenhouse also was constructed, creating a roof-to-table experience for convention center guests. Below the rooftop event spaces is a four-level truck marshaling facility that houses up to 200 tractor-trailers anytime, reducing neighborhood congestion and pollution while improving traffic safety. All the rooms are equipped with the latest technology in lighting fixtures, heating and cooling systems, and wireless connectivity. The expansion has been certified LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council.
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO and Climate Action Council Co-Chair Doreen M. Harris said, “The State’s successful NY-Sun initiative has already positioned New York as the top community solar market in the nation and now is revving up our progress to meet our 2025 solar goal ahead of schedule, putting us on pace to achieve ten gigawatts by 2030. NYSERDA looks forward to building upon this milestone to advance solar projects of all sizes that help to lower greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and bring down electricity bills for all New Yorkers.”
New York Power Authority Interim President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, “The deployment of more solar arrays throughout New York is critical for achieving the state’s ambitious renewable energy goals. The comprehensive rooftop solar system on the Javits Center will be a New York showpiece of an emissions-free, renewable energy source that helps lower electric bills while helping us move forward in our transition from fossil fuels. With one of the largest battery deployments in New York City, the project will also enhance the electric grid’s efficiency by storing extra energy to use during periods of high electricity demand.”
Javits Center CEO Alan Steel said, “Installing a rooftop solar array atop the Javits Center is the next major step in our sustainability journey, and it has been an honor to work with Governor Hochul, NYPA, and Siemens to create this remarkable — and renewable — source of energy on Manhattan’s West Side. From serving as a wildlife sanctuary to operating a one-acre farm, our rooftop is unlike any other in New York State. We hope our efforts inspire others to explore the sustainable building as we bring people together for events during Climate Week NYC.”
Chair of the State Public Service Commission Rory M. Christian said, “New York’s highly acclaimed NY-Sun initiative will help us meet our important goals to develop solar power in New York. These programs, championed by Governor Hochul, will lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce volatile energy prices. As we drive solar energy projects, New York will create new economic opportunities for customers and create good-paying jobs for New Yorkers.”
New York’s success has been primarily driven by community solar, an innovative business model designed to deliver the benefits of solar, including no upfront costs or participation fees, to New York consumers who are often unable to install solar on their property. Earlier this year, Governor Hochul announced New York became the top community solar market in the United States, with more than one gigawatt installed to power more than 200,000 homes, ensuring continued access to clean, affordable solar for all New Yorkers in years to come.
The state’s NY-Sun initiative has helped support solar installation for 166,088 New York homes or businesses spanning every county in New York, with Long Island, Mid-Hudson, and the Capital Region having the most installed solar. Consistent with the Climate Act’s mandate for 35 percent and a goal of 40 percent of clean energy benefits going towards Disadvantaged Communities, NYSERDA is dedicating over 1,600 megawatts, enough to power 280,000 homes, to low- to moderate-income (LMI) households affordable housing, and disadvantaged and environmental justice communities as part of its Solar Energy Equity Framework.
In addition to the four gigawatts of distributed solar installed statewide, another 3.2 gigawatts of solar, enough to power 560,000 homes, have been awarded NY-Sun incentives and are now under development across the state. These projects are expected to come online in the next two to three years with enough capacity to power an additional half million or more homes, which will bring New York State even closer to achieving the state’s six-gigawatt goal. The state’s six gigawatts solar goal is expected to generate approximately $5.4 billion in private investments and up to $500 million per year in statewide energy savings.
The rapid deployment of distributed solar across New York will be further accelerated with the extended and expanded federal Investment Tax Credit for solar and other clean energy technologies included in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. This progress is also complemented by NYSERDA’s large-scale renewables program, which has active contracts with over 85 utility-scale solar projects totaling nearly seven additional gigawatts of solar under development throughout the state – enough to power almost 1.2 million homes once completed. Together, these projects will result in more than $7.5 billion invested in New York and over 9,000 jobs in development, construction, and operations and maintenance.
Senator Kevin S. Parker said, “With 4 GW of distributed solar installed across our state, we have shown that we can install clean energy for folks promptly. Distributed solar on rooftops will play a key role on our road to achieving the CLCPA equitably since it provides positive net value to the grid by avoiding infrastructure investments and improving resilience. I applaud the use of NYPA’s special position as the state’s public power authority to facilitate equitable green projects, like the Javits project, that contribute to this solar milestone and help keep us on track to exceed our CLCPA goal of 6GW of distributed solar by 2025.”