The White Plains Examiner

Push for Solar Power Proposed in White Plains

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White Plains Department of Public Works Commissioner Richard Hope at the Jan. 27 Common Council work session. Neal Rentz Photo

White Plains Mayor Tom Roach proposed a major solar power push for the city at the Jan. 27 Common Council work session.

Roach is proposing a community solar program. The plan seeks to install solar panels at eight city properties. If the plan is approved, the city expects to generate up to six megawatts of power annually, which would be a tripling of the total current commercial and residential solar production in White Plains. According to the city, in addition to environmental benefits, the program would reduce energy costs for residents and businesses and generate more revenue for the city through the leasing of city sites.

“We really wanted to do something dramatic,” Roach said at last week’s meeting. “We’re absolutely in a climate crisis around the world.”

The New York Power Authority is providing services to assist with the project.

According to the city, the community solar model produces solar energy that goes back to the grid and allows residents who enroll in the program to receive a credit on their bill every month. The program equates to a reduction of 46,400 tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to removing 8,900 passenger cars from the road.

At Roach’s request, the Department of Public Works, in conjunction with NYPA, prepared a Request for Proposals for leasing municipal properties and solicited more than 100 qualified developers. Eight competitive proposals were received and the DPW asked the Common Council to enter into a multi-year agreement with Distributed Solar Projects LLC to establish the program in conjunction with Con Edison.

Department of Public Works Commissioner Richard Hope said at last week’s meeting Distributed Solar Projects looked at all potential city owned properties for solar and came up with the recommendation for eight sites.

“We’re proud of this initiative,” Hope said. “We think it’s a good deal for everybody.”

The facilities being proposed for the solar program are: a rooftop canopy at the Longview garage; a rooftop canopy at the Lyon Place garage; a roof mount on the sanitation building; a rooftop canopy at the Gillie parking lot; a ground mounted system on the landfill at the Gedney Way recycling center, which Hope said would be the largest proposed installation; a rooftop canopy at the Chester-Maple garage; a roof mount at the Ebersole ice rink roof and a rooftop canopy at the Shapham Place garage.

The city is estimating it would receive $960,000 in annual revenue for 25 years. According to the city, funds generated by the program would be used to advance additional sustainability initiatives, facilities and infrastructure.

If the project is approved by the Common Council the city expects the final completion date for all sites to be March 2021.

Councilwoman Jennifer Puja asked if city employees would be working to install and work on the project. Hope said they would not. Puja asked if he program was approved could additional city properties could be leased. Hope said more properties could be added for solar in the future.

Councilman Justin Brasch applauded the proposal and said he wanted the program to “be made as easy possible” for residents to participate in it. “We have the exact same goal as you,” Hope replied.

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