First boro solar project helps light up city skyscraper

By Sadef Ali Kully

A solar rooftop project stretching across several warehouses in Springfield Gardens was unveiled Tuesday in a first for Queens. The project will enable Bloomberg L.P.’s global headquarters in Midtown Manhattan and its downtown data center to partially convert to clean solar energy.

The JFK Airport Park Solar Project is a state-of-the-art, large-scale solar photovoltaic project. It produces electric current when two substances are exposed to light, and the energy is then transferred to the electric grid and passed to Bloomberg’s Midtown building on 59th Street and Lexington Avenue. It is the first project of its type in New York City.

“This is a tremendous project. It has zero negative impact on the community and it helps the environment,” said Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton), who pushed for the project to come to southeast Queens.

It was the convergence of creative partnerships between Richards, Deputy BoroughPresident Melva Miller, developer EnterSolar, Bloomberg, JFK Airport Park development team, Con Edison and the state initiative for environmental responsibility, NY-Sun.

“This marquee solar initiative is a tangible demonstration of the power of partnership,” said Peyton Boswell, managing director of EnterSolar. EnterSolar provides solar systems to the commercial marketplace.

The project is comprised of 1,500 kilowatts of solar installation across three adjacent logistics warehouse facilities at the JFK Airport Park in Springfield Gardens.

“We are always about making Queens first and this is a significant project,” Miller said.

The multi-building system is the largest rooftop solar array in Queens and is among the largest rooftop solar projects in the state. The JFK installation has more than 5,500 solar panels. The power generated will be converted to energy credits with Con Edison and applied to Bloomberg’s offices in Manhattan.

The project will generate 1.8 million kilowatt hours annually, enough clean renewable electricity to power more than 244 typical homes.

“We are always looking for new and innovative ways to operate more efficiently. This project makes good business sense,” said Curtis Ravenel, global head of sustainable business and finance, at Bloomberg L.P.

The growth of solar energy across the state has increased more than 300 percent from 2011 to 2014, twice the rate of U.S. solar growth overall, according to NY-Sun.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skully@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

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