City of White Plains Press Release

City of White Plains Puts Forward Community Solar Program

For Immediate Release:

Contact:         

Karen Pasquale, Mayor’s Office, kpasquale@whiteplainsny.gov, (914) 422-1411

Jill Iannetta, Mayor’s Office, jiannetta@whiteplainsny.gov, (914) 422-1411

 

Solar Panels to be Installed at 8 City Facilities; Community Benefit Program  to be Established

 

White Plains, NY – January 27, 2020.  White Plains Mayor Tom Roach today presented a proposal to the Common Council to establish a Community Solar Program in the city. The program calls for the installation of solar panels on eight city properties. In total, these installations are expected to generate up to 6 megawatts of power per year, effectively tripling the total current commercial and residential solar production in White Plains. In addition to the clear environmental benefits, the program will offer residents and businesses a direct financial benefit, and generate new recurring revenue for the city.

The Administration has been working to increase the generation of renewable energy in the city. White Plains was one of the first municipalities to adopt a streamlined solar approval process for residential installations, which dramatically increased the number of residential solar installations in the city.  In terms of the city’s generation of renewable power, the challenge has been to come up with a viable proposal that also made economic sense. As the solar industry has evolved, the city has been able to take advantage of changes in the way solar programs are administered.  Until recently, a program such as the one being proposed today would have required a large capital outlay on the part of the city. Under the new model, the developer owns and maintains the system over the term of the agreement and the city benefits as the host property. Furthermore, in the past model, if the generated energy could not be used on site it created additional challenges for the city.  Now with the community solar model available, the city is able to partner with a developer to provide space for solar energy systems, offer a community benefit, and produce significant revenue for the city.

Mayor Tom Roach said, “As most people have come to recognize, we are in a climate crisis. It is incumbent on all of us to do what we can to reduce our reliance on carbon-based fuels. I am pleased to see this solar program move forward.  It is the culmination of hard work on the part of our staff and a commitment on the part our administration to institute a program that is not only environmentally beneficial, but provides a community benefit, and a benefit to the taxpayers as well.”

“White Plains is stepping up its efforts to combat climate change by becoming the first municipality in Westchester County to produce community solar at this scale and offer local renewable energy at reduced rates,” said Gil C. Quiniones, president and CEO of the New York Power Authority, which is providing advisory services for the project. “NYPA is pleased to be a partner in bringing access to clean energy to residents and small businesses and negotiating with developers to provide greater discount rates to more energy customers.”

The community solar model produces solar energy that goes back to the grid and allows residents who enroll in the program to receive a credit on their bill every month.  This program is expected to generate approximately 6 megawatts of power annually which is enough energy to power 4,800 homes per year.  This equates to a reduction of 46,400 tons of carbon dioxide which is equivalent to removing 8,900 passenger cars from the road. 

At the Mayor’s request, The Department of Public Works, in conjunction with NYPA, prepared a Request for Proposals (RFP) for leasing municipal property for solar development at various city locations and solicited over 100 qualified developers. Eight competitive proposals were received.  After a thorough evaluation of the proposals and an interview process, the Department of Public Works is recommending that the Common Council grant the authority for the city to enter into a multi-year agreement with Distributed Solar Projects LLC (“DSP”) to establish a Community Solar program in conjunction with Con Edison.  This proposal was presented to the Council at their January 27th work session. 

The following city facilities were chosen for their productive capabilities:

  1. Longview Garage - 469 kW- Rooftop Canopy
  2. Lyon Place Garage- 423 kW - Rooftop Canopy
  3. Sanitation Building- 605 kW - Flush Mount (Roof)
  4. Gillie Park Lot- 325 kW- Rooftop Canopy
  5. Gedney Way Recycling Center- 1270 kW - Ground Mount (Landfill)
  6. Chester-Maple Garage- 832 kW - Rooftop Canopy
  7. Ebersole Ice Rink Roof- 331 kW - Flush Mounted (Roof)
  8. Shapham Place Garage - 1164 kW- Rooftop Canopy

The total annual revenue the city will receive for hosting the solar energy systems at the eight sites will be approximately $960,000, or $25 million over the life of the agreement.  The City will focus on utilizing these funds to advance additional sustainability initiatives, facilities and infrastructure in the city.

With this project, the City of White Plains becomes one of the first municipalities in Westchester County to launch a Community Solar Program and the largest community solar energy producer in Westchester to date.  As each facility comes online, the city and residents will derive benefit from the energy produced. The expected final completion date for all sites is March 2021.  “We believe we have created a model that can be replicated and we would be happy to work with municipalities and other entities large and small who also wish to pursue a solar energy program,” said Mayor Roach. “We must all do the hard work of reducing our reliance on carbon-based fuels and addressing the causes of climate change.”