Port Authority completes huge solar panel rooftop at LaGuardia Airport

Port Authority solar
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards joins Port Authority officials atop the Terminal B parking garage rooftop solar installation Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of the Port Authority)

The Port Authority announced Wednesday the completion of a massive new solar energy project at LaGuardia Airport.

The solar installation on the rooftop of the newly built Terminal B parking garage on the western side of the airport includes more than 3,500 solar panels that will produce more than 1.7 million kilowatt-hours of clean, renewable energy annually as part of the agency’s net zero emissions new LaGuardia solar project target announced last year.

“Renewable energy sources must dominate our future, and the Port Authority is proud to unveil its newest solar installation at LaGuardia Airport as part of our commitment to being a leader in sustainability throughout the region,” Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said. “Today’s opening at this 1.34-megawatt solar installation is only the leading edge of our agenda to shift to renewable energy sources across our facilities.”

The new LaGuardia solar project — the Port Authority’s largest to date — joins six other Port Authority solar projects that now total more than 1,381 kilowatts of solar capacity and equate to an estimated 1.8 million kilowatt-hours of electrical energy annually.

“The Port Authority continues to look for ways to bring innovative technology to its facilities and here at LaGuardia Airport we are moving toward a greener future with the addition of thousands of new solar panels ready to power parts of the airport,” said Kevin O’Toole, chairman at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. “We could not be more excited to see projects like this across the agency, creating cost savings while providing clean energy.”

Photo courtesy of the Port Authority
Photo courtesy of the Port Authority

Among other projects that are in the works, the Port Authority will install a 12-megawatt solar parking canopy at JFK International Airport.

“As we celebrate Earth Day this Friday, we are reminded that we need to seize every opportunity we can to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are harming our planet,” Queens Borough President DonovanRichards said. “This solar rooftop at Terminal B in LaGuardia Airport will do just that by providing a clean source of energy for this beautiful new terminal, reducing its reliance on fossil fuels. Queens commends the Port Authority for doing its part to combat climate change, which continues to pose a grave threat to us here in the ‘World’s Borough’ and beyond.”

The new solar energy project at LaGuardia will reduce energy consumption by 5% and generate more than 1.7 million kilowatt-hours of solar energy per year, enough to power 164 homes annually. This measure will offset nearly 400 metric tons of CO2 admissions annually, equivalent to 434,000 pounds of coal burned in one year.

“The New York League of Conservation Voters is excited to see 3,500 solar panels installed at LaGuardia Airport to provide the Port Authority’s first-ever solar rooftop,” NYLCV President Julie Tighe said. “This initiative will cut reliance on polluting fossil fuels; supply clean and renewable energy to the airport and its thousands of travelers every day; and support the agency, as well as New York’s, net-zero emissions goal.”

The Port Authority was the first U.S. transportation agency to adopt the Biden administration’s ambitious climate goals, which set new net-zero targets for all emissions by 2050. The agency also committed to cutting direct greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 through facility-wide sustainability initiatives in the areas of electrification, renewable energy and sustainable buildings/energy efficiency.

“Solar energy is a central part of New York’s overarching strategy for decarbonizing the power grid, making electricity more affordable and reducing harmful emissions to improve air quality and public health,” said Doreen Harris, NYSERDA president and CEO. “The Port Authority’s milestone project at LaGuardia will ensure one of the state’s premier airports is powered by renewable solar energy for years to come and is another example of the leadership demonstrated by state authorities and agencies in New York when it comes to the clean energy transition.”