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JFK Airport Gets NYC’s Largest Solar Energy Project — Progress Toward Paris Climate Commitment

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced that New York City’s single-largest solar energy project, an installation at John F. Kennedy International Airport, has been awarded to SunPower and Goldman Sachs Renewable Power Group. It is also considered the largest planned community solar project at an airport in the United States.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced that New York City’s single-largest solar energy project, an installation at John F. Kennedy International Airport, has been awarded to SunPower and Goldman Sachs Renewable Power Group. It is also considered the largest planned community solar project at an airport in the United States.

The partnership with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and will include approximately 7.5 megawatts* of battery storage, as well as approximately 13 megawatts of onsite solar power capacity. (*The press release only indicates megawatts for the storage project, not megawatt-hours.)

As the JFK community solar initiative has entered the next phase of development, the Port Authority has confirmed that not only will it provide clean energy for the surrounding airport communities, but it will help them to save money on their utility bills.

The solar energy will also be used onsite at JFK, providing clean energy for the international airport and minimizing the Port Authority’s purchase of conventional electricity sources. Another reason to love New York City!

Commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement

  1. It is expected to reduce JFK greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 6,699 tons annually.
  2. That’s the equivalent of taking 1,422 (non-electric) cars off the road each year.

“The installation is a key element in the Port Authority’s aggressive effort to implement solar and other renewable energy sources to its power operations and reflects the agency’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement,” the press release states.

1st Transportation Agency in the Country to Embrace the Paris Climate Agreement

“As the first transportation agency in the country to embrace the Paris Climate Agreement, the Port Authority is committed to integrating clean energy technology at all of its facilities,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “The Port Authority is excited to be part of this collaborative effort bringing together community stakeholders, government and private business to advance our regional sustainability goals.”

“Equipping our essential transportation facilities with renewable energy sources and equipment is key to reducing our carbon footprint across the agency,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “Using best-in-class technology, the installation of these solar panels will help us bring the airport up to 21st century standards and enable the communities neighboring JFK to benefit from these clean energy installations.”

“The Port Authority and NYPA, working with the Public Service Commission, are leading the way in constructing and enabling solar development in New York,” said Port Authority Director of Environmental and Energy Programs Christine Weydig. “With this record-setting system, our neighbors at JFK will have access to local, renewable energy, and the Port Authority will advance its greenhouse gas reduction objectives.”

“This innovative solar development at JFK is on a scale unprecedented in New York City, not to mention nationwide,” said NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones. “NYPA is proud to be a partner in such a trailblazing project that will help JFK significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions while supporting Governor Cuomo’s green energy goals. The fact that the installation will also provide affordable renewable energy to the local community makes this a sustainable good-neighbor project worthy of replication by other facilities.”

For all of us, the constant flow of travelers and New Yorkers who use the AirTrain system, the solar projects will add resiliency to the AirTrain constantly in use.

“The project encompasses Building 141 and Long Term Parking Lot 9. Building 141 will host approximately 1 megawatt of rooftop solar, and Lot 9 will host more than 13 megawatts of solar and approximately 7.5 megawatts of energy storage. In total, this project will reduce the Port Authority’s greenhouse gas emissions at JFK by approximately 10 percent.” Here are a few more details about the project:

  • SunPower is the solar developer and contractor for the infrastructure to be built. The financial partner, Goldman Sachs Renewable Power Group, will hold the power purchase agreement. BlueWave Solar will assist in providing the surrounding airport community with affordable access to clean electricity produced by the solar system by managing the associated subscriptions and billing.
  • The JFK renewable energy program is part of the Port Authority’s goal of reducing the agency’s greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent by 2025 and advance its long-term goal of an 80-percent reduction in all emissions by 2050. The Port Authority became the first public transportation agency in October 2018 to adopt the Paris Climate Agreement, committing to such aggressive goals.

Related Story:

NY-Funded Solar One Program Empowers Vulnerable Communities With Solar + Storage, Emergency Resilience

 Features image by SunPower


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Written By

Cynthia Shahan started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. (Several unrelated publications) She is a licensed health care provider. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education, mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings born with spiritual insights and ethics beyond this world. (She was able to advance more in this way led by her children.)

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