Solar plus storage cleared to land at JFK airport


The agency that operates John F. Kennedy International Airport has authorized the development, construction, and operation of one of New York State’s largest onsite solar plus storage systems.

The 12.3 MW solar installation will create a carport canopy for around 3,000 parking spaces located on the southern section of one of the airport’s long-term parking lots.

The system includes 5 to 7.5 MW of battery storage, which will support AirTrain JFK. The entire project is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 5,300 metric tons annually.

“Utilizing solar energy is a proven, industry-leading approach to reducing both costs and emissions while driving economic activity in the region,” said Kevin O’Toole, chairman of the Port Authority Board of Commissioners, which operates New York City’s three airports, among other transportation assets.

The Port Authority partnered with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and issued a Request for Proposals for the development in April 2019. A preferred development team was selected an announced in late 2019.

The project team comprises SunPower for project delivery, and Goldman Sachs Renewable Power LLC for project financing. The team will pay the full up-front construction cost of the project, which is around $56 million. Construction will begin in 2021 and is expected to be completed in 2022.

Once completed, sthe electricity will serve small businesses and low- and moderate-income residents in the surrounding communities. Participants will be eligible to receive credits on their utility bills through the New York State Community Solar Program.

The project is a milestone in achieving the Port Authority’s sustainability agenda, and is one of 12 initiatives known as the “clean dozen.” Together, the projects are designed to meet 35% and 80% GHG reductions by 2025 and 2050, respectively.

Solar projects are currently in development across Port Authority facilities, including a 5 MW solar parking canopy at Newark Airport, a 1.5 MW rooftop solar array on LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal B Garage, and a 600 kW solar installation on a rail service warehouse rooftop.

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