From brownfield to solar park: Staten Island’s Freshkills Park will be the home of NYC’s largest solar installation, providing 10 MW of solar electricity and nearly doubling the City’s current renewable energy capacity.
Solar power might seem more of a fit in states known for being incredibly sunny, such as Arizona, California, or Hawaii, but it’s also right at home in New York, as the recent announcement of the solar park planned for Staten Island’s Freshkills Park demonstrates.
As part of NYC’s plan to transform what was formerly the world’s largest landfill into a world-class public park (and one of the City’s largest, at 2,200 acres), a 47-acre parcel at Freshkills is being leased to SunEdison, which will design, build, and operate a solar power plant that can generate enough electricity to power over 2000 homes.
“Freshkills was once the site of the largest landfill in the world. Soon it will be one of the City’s largest parks, and the site of the largest solar power installation ever developed within the five boroughs. Over the last twelve years we’ve restored wetlands and vegetation and opened new parks and soccer fields at the edges of the site. Thanks to the agreement today we will increase the amount of solar energy produced in New York City by 50 percent and it is only fitting that Freshkills, once a daily dumping ground, will become a showcase urban renewal and sustainability.” – Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
The city already harvests and sells methane gas produced from trash in the old landfill, which was closed in 2001, to the tune of about $12 million per year, as the decaying garbage is responsible for about 5 million cubic feet of methane every day (which is enough to heat up to 30,000 homes). Adding solar energy to the mix will be another clean energy source for this park, and could be just the start of a solar resurgence in Staten Island.
For those who live in Staten Island, going solar offers a variety of benefits, in the form of both financial incentives and environmental conservation. Solar power is a clean and non-polluting energy source, which reduces the amount of energy-related emissions, stabilizes the electric grid costs, and silently provides electricity that doesn’t add to local air, water, or soil pollution. And New York state is ranked third for solar return on investment, right behind Hawaii and Washington DC, so going solar is a smart way to invest in the future in New York.
Federal Solar Incentive: Like all states in the US, the Federal renewable energy tax credit for solar power, which can offset up to 30% of the cost of a home solar system, applies to homeowners installing solar energy on their site, before figuring in any state solar incentives.
New York Solar Incentives
New York Personal Tax Credit: For residential homes in New York State that install solar systems under 25 kW, a tax credit for up to 25% of the cost of the system (up to $5000) is available.
Sales Tax Exemption: Solar electric systems are 100% exempt from sales tax.
Property Tax Exemption: 100% exemption from property tax increases due to the added value of a solar power system for up to 15 years.
Property Tax Abatement: This property tax abatement allows building owners to deduct a portion of the costs of installing a solar PV system from their total real property taxes.
State Solar Rebate Program: Installed solar systems, up to 50 kW in capacity, are eligible for a $1.00/W incentive in New York, up to maximum $25,000 (residential). This rebate will cover up to 40% of the costs of the system, after any available tax credits are applied.
Low-Interest Solar Financing: Residential solar installations on existing buildings of four or fewer units may be eligible for low-interest financing, in the form of either On-Bill Recovery Loans or Smart Energy loans, for periods of 5, 10, or 15 years.
May 8, 2014
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