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Largest Municipal Solar Energy Deployment Completed in White Plains

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Mayor Roach at Solar Press Conference

White Plains Mayor Tom Roach and representatives from Distributed Solar Development (DSD) Renewables and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced the completion of the city’s nine-site, 6.8-megawatt community solar portfolio at a press conference last week at the Gedney Way Recycling Facility. 

The portfolio, which consists of canopy, rooftop and ground-mount installations throughout White Plains, is the largest municipal solar energy deployment in Westchester County. 

“The city partnered with NYPA and DSD to create a successful 6.8-megawatt community solar portfolio that will not only benefit residents today but future generations,” Roach said. “Public-private partnerships will drive the proliferation of clean energy projects through New York State, creating a robust renewable energy market. I am grateful to NYPA and DSD for their collaboration during this project.”

Aerial View of Solar Energy

Expected to generate 8,100 megawatt-hours of energy annually, the portfolio will triple the amount of solar energy produced in the county and is enough to power more than 700 homes each year. In addition to canopy, rooftop and ground-mounted installations, energy storage systems were also installed at the Gedney Way Recycling Facility and Shapham Place parking garage.

NYPA served as the acting energy advisor for the project, providing key oversight to ensure the portfolio maximizes the energy, environmental and economic benefits for White Plains. Additionally, NYPA helped the city with its competitive bid process to select a vendor to successfully execute the city-wide project.

“All of this is in support of the very ambitious goals that New York State has in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, and it takes all of us working together to make that happen,” said Sarah Salati, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of NYPA. “It makes me very proud to live in Westchester County, work in White Plains and see these types of projects come to fruition.”

Justin Driscoll, Interim President and CEO of NYPA, said White Plains is setting an example for other communities looking to develop alternative clean energy options.

“Hopefully other municipalities will follow suit and help our state further advance its bold climate action goals,” Driscoll said. 

The solar portfolio has incorporated various infrastructure improvements, including a new roof for Ebersole Ice Rink and an enclosed solar canopy storage area for the Water Department, which avoided significant capital spending. Across the sites, the solar canopies feature an integrated water management system to effectively manage water from rain and snow melt.

At the Gedney Way Recycling Facility, DSD’s canopy team designed the first floating foundation canopy mounted on a landfill cap. Two additional canopy systems at the site feature sidewalls to store and protect city equipment. 

“We’re honored to be a part of a portfolio that has been so transformational for the City of White Plains,” said David Eisenbud, Senior Director of Business Development at DSD. “Our expertise and design capabilities have enabled us to overcome the challenges of delivering clean energy systems with such significant energy capacity to a dense urban area.”

“This unique portfolio positions the city as a leader in solar adoption and shows other communities what is possible when it comes to clean energy,” Eisenbud added. 

The city, as well as its residents and local businesses subscribed to Community Solar, will receive a 10 percent discount for credits applied to their energy bill. The installations are expected to deliver $1 million in value annually to White Plains between energy cost savings and lease payments for hosting the systems. 

Reading headlines detailing the effects of climate change from extreme heat to glacier collapse, Roach urged other municipalities throughout Westchester to take action and implement clean energy solutions.

“We are in a climate crisis and are obligated to recognize the urgency and take deliberate action to build a sustainable, resilient planet,” Roach said. “The City of White Plains will continue to serve as a sustainability leader by investing in and implementing renewable energy initiatives that will meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The solar portfolio contributed to Roach being honored for his efforts to address the climate crisis as part of the 2021 Mayors Climate Protection Awards. The city also received the New York Conference of Mayors Local Government Achievement Award and POWER Magazine’s 2022 Commercial and Industrial Generation Award.

Earlier this summer, members of the public expressed both support and criticism for proposed amendments to White Plains’ zoning ordinance that would establish regulations for the installation of solar energy systems city-wide.

Speaking on the proposed amendments, Roach has underscored that alternative energy is both an obligation and an opportunity for White Plains.

“We should be doing what we can,” Roach said. 

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