JFK to boast New York state’s largest onsite solar storage project

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) and the New York Power Authority have begun construction of New York State’s largest onsite solar plus storage project.

Once operational, the solar carport project will generate electricity to help power the AirTrain and to reduce electricity costs for residents of low-income neighbourhoods in Queens.

Located in the airport’s long-term parking lot 9, the JFK solar carport will be erected as a canopy, providing the added benefit of covered parking for 3,000 vehicles.

“We are breaking ground on a game-changing solar project, which will give power to the AirTrain and support thousands of families in Queens,” said New York Governor, Kathy Hochul.

“Supporting local minority- and women-owned businesses, this project will deepen our investment in the community while pushing forward New York’s nation-leading climate goals.”

The Port Authority, in partnership with the New York Power Authority, has contracted TotalEnergies, a global leader in solar power, to build and operate the JFK International Airport solar project.

With enough solar panels to cover an area large enough for 11 football fields, the solar carport will generate approximately 12 megawatts of onsite power and will include a 6-megawatt community solar generation facility.

The project will also include 7.5 megawatts of battery storage that will be used to help reduce airport energy use during peak periods.

When complete, the JFK solar carport will produce enough clean energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 6,000 tons annually – the greenhouse gas equivalent of 26 million miles driven by an average gasoline-powered passenger vehicle – and will contribute substantially to the Port Authority’s goal of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the agency’s facilities by 2050.

Additionally, the project will enable designated low-income communities in Queens to support clean energy and to save on their utility bills.

Governor Hochul cited the JFK solar carport and battery storage project in her 2024 State of the State message as an example of New York’s transformative infrastructure projects.

The JFK solar carport is also consistent with the Governor’s climate agenda, which calls for a transition from fossil fuels to clean energy in a way that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues to foster a green economy across all sectors and ensures that a robust share of clean energy investments is directed to disadvantaged communities.

As with all Port Authority capital projects, development of the solar carport will adhere to the 30% goal for participation by minority- and women-owned business enterprises.

Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton, enthused: “Building New York’s largest solar carport at JFK significantly advances the Port Authority’s goal of reducing our agency’s carbon footprint to net-zero while sharing the benefit of our historic investments at the airport with neighbouring communities.

“When complete, a fully transformed JFK will take its place as a world-class airport that is efficient, beautiful and sustainable.”

The project will be built in two phases. Phase 1 will deliver energy to the airport starting in March 2025. Phase 2 is the community solar project and will deliver energy to Con Edison for the surrounding community beginning in April 2026.

Through the NYS Community Distributed Generation Program, the project will provide guaranteed electric bill savings for 25 years to historically disadvantaged and environmentally impacted households.

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