NYC Schools Go Solar, Cut as Much Greenhouse Gas as Taking 600 Cars Off the Road

September 29, 2014 Updated: September 30, 2014

New York City plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions down by 80 percent by 2050, and part of that plan includes tripling the amount of solar generated from City-owned buildings. 

Thus, 24 solar installations at schools are going to be funded by the city and state, for a total of $28 million. 

The 24 installations will produce 6.25 MW annually when finished, resulting in an annual reduction of 2,800 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions—or as much as taking 600 cars off the road every year.

“These 24 new solar installations at our schools mark a significant step forward, tripling the amount of solar currently on City buildings—but they’re also just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how we’ll dramatically reduce our contributions to climate change,” de Blasio said in a press release. 

The solar generation will be worked into the school curriculum, and students will be able to track solar power generation and emission offset through real-time web portals. 

Over the next decade, all city-owned buildings will be retrofitted for energy efficiency. Incentivizing private building owners to do the same will also be significant in achieving the reduction goal, as buildings account for about three-fourths of total greenhouse gas emissions in the city. 

Steven Spinola, President of The Real Estate Board of New York, said in a press release this would be a cost saving measure and there would be benefits across the board.

“In a city with increasing energy demands and limited supply sources—devoting investment and leveraging public resources for renewable energy are among the smartest steps towards energy efficiency New York can make,” Spinola said.

According to Stacey Cumberbatch, Commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the solar installations will save over $1.7 million in annual electricity costs for the schools. 

“Solar for schools is exactly the kind of investment we need today to turn the corner on climate change tomorrow,” said Andy Darrell, Chief of Strategy for U.S. Climate and Energy at Environmental Defense Fund, in a press release. “The price of solar has fallen dramatically—what a great way to deliver clean, affordable and resilient energy for our kids.”

The installations are being funded with $5 million in grants from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and $23 million from the city.