City breaks ground on 6.8 MW community solar portfolio


The City of White Plains, New York, and developer Distributed Solar Development (DSD) have broken ground on a 6.8 MW community solar project portfolio at city-owned sites.

The nine solar projects include a mix of canopy, rooftop, and ground-mount installations at four parking garages, an ice rink, a recycling facility, a park, and the city’s water and sanitation departments. Two of the projects will include energy storage systems.

Construction is expected to finish this fall. When completed, the portfolio will triple the amount of solar energy produced in Westchester County, generating enough to power more than 700 homes annually. It will also represent the largest municipal renewable energy deployment in the county, which is just north of New York City.

When complete, the portfolio will triple the amount of solar energy produced in Westchester County, north of New York City.

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is acting as an energy advisor to the city on the portfolio. NYPA and the Department of Public Works prepared a request for proposals to lease municipal property for solar development and solicited more than 100 developers.

The city chose New York-based DSD and signed a multi-year deal to set up a community solar program in conjunction with utility Con Edison. DSD partnered with Community Solar Platform to manage residential and commercial customer sign-up.

Clean energy commitment

In 2014, White Plains was one of the first cities to adopt the New York State Unified Solar Permit, which expedited residential solar permitting. In 2017, it was designated a Clean Energy Community by the New York State Energy Research Development Authority.

DSD will own and maintain the projects. Over the 20-year term of the deal, White Plains expects to collect more than $20 million in rent for hosting the installations.

The projects will help realize Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s goal of installing 6 GW of solar in New York by 2025 as called for in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Enacted in 2019, the act mandated a zero-emissions electricity sector by 2040, including 70% renewable generation by 2030. New York currently ranks 10th in the nation for installed solar capacity, with about 2.5 GW.

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