Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced that the City Department of Administrative Services (DCAS) would issue an RFP for private solar developers to purchase, install, own and maintain solar panels on city-owned buildings in all five boroughs as part of PlaNYC. The plan would more than double the City's current solar electric capacity. Eleven potential sites have been identified for the developer to choose from, including five schools and a community college. The City and the developer will enter into a 20-year power purchase agreement for the electricity the solar panels generate. The Mayor made the announcement during a keynote address Newsweek's 2nd Annual Global Environmental Leadership Conference.
"New York City is moving ahead vigorously on our PlaNYC agenda, especially in the all-important area of reducing our reliance on the carbon-based fuels that contribute to global warming," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We've set a target of shrinking our carbon footprint by 30% by the year 2030. Increasing the use of renewable energy, like solar power, is a key strategy in that effort. Using solar power decreases demand for electricity from the power grid, which is typically generated by burning the fossil fuels that contribute to climate change."
The U.S. Department of Energy is leading The Solar America Initiative (SAI) in an effort to accelerate the development of advanced solar electric technologies, including solar panels and the concentration solar power systems, with the goal of making them cost-competitive with other forms of electricity by 2015. The development of this project to supply 2 megawatts of solar power to city-owned buildings began last year. It was made possible by a planning grant and technical assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, as part of that agency's designation of New York as "A Solar America" city. The New York City Solar America Initiative is a partnership between City University of New York (CUNY), NYCEDC, and the Mayor's Office of Longterm Planning and Sustainability. As part of the program, the City has received a $200,000 grant and $200,000 in technical support from the National Renewable Energy Lab. CUNY manages the program for the City.
Additionally, SAI will provide the US with additional electricity supply options by reducing reliance on fossil fuels, which will improve the environment. By 2015 SAI will: provide 5-10 GW of new electric capacity from decentralized sources of clean power to the electric grid in the United States, and will help reduce CO2 emissions by 10 million metric tons per year. SAI will also boost our economy by promoting a U.S. based solar industry and creating 30,000 new jobs in the field.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation's (NYCEDC) Energy & Telecommunications Department will coordinate and address the City's energy needs and goals with other City agencies and private stakeholders. The Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability will play a key role in ensuring that the Solar City plan is integrated into the City's broader long-term planning efforts. The City University of New York is already committed to MSR and will continue to support solar outreach, education, and research under the SAI CUNY's Solar Coordinator will provide general coordination and support to the Solar Cities Partnership