SunEdison to build largest solar array in New York City

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SunEdison is to build a 10MW array on Staten Island, the New York mayor’s office has confirmed.

The plant will be built in Freshkills Park on Staten Island covering 19-hectares. It is five-times larger than any other installation in the city, the mayor's office said.

Freshkills is a new park three times the size of Central Park being built on old wasteland.

“Freshkills was once the site of the largest landfill in the world. Soon it will be one of the City’s largest parks, and the site of the largest solar power installation ever developed within the five boroughs,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg holds the mayorship until the end of the year, after which Democrat mayor-elect Bill de Blasio takes office.

“Over the last 12 years we’ve restored wetlands and vegetation and opened new parks and soccer fields at the edges of the site. Thanks to the agreement today we will increase the amount of solar energy produced in New York City by 50% and it is only fitting that Freshkills, once a daily dumping ground, will become a showcase urban renewal and sustainability.”

New York state’s NY-Sun initiative has awarded US$54 million to help back solar projects with a value up to US$3 million. The largest project it has funded is 2.7MW in size.

“Developing solar energy on Freshkills Park shows that large-scale renewable energy projects are possible in New York City, but this is only a first step,” said deputy mayor for operations, Cas Holloway.

“If we are serious about meeting New York City’s tremendous energy needs from renewable sources we need the state and federal governments, as well as our utility partners and others in the private sector, to work with us to make solar and other renewable energies easier to develop, install, and access the energy grid,” said Holloway.

Attila Toth, SunEdison’s general manager added: “The solar systems we intend to build at Freshkills Park will be tangible proof of the mayor’s commitment to renewable energy, and will serve as a model of public private partnerships by providing economic benefit to both the city and businesses located within the five boroughs.”

With the paperwork signed Sergej Mahnovski, director of the mayor’s office of long-term planning and sustainability, warned there were still several challenges ahead.

“This project will also push existing regulations to their boundaries. Interconnection with the utility system will have to be clarified, State programs aimed at increasing renewable energy will have to be expanded, and landfill post-closure care will have to be rewritten,” he said.
 

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