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Javits Center Moving Ahead with Rooftop Solar Project

Oct. 7, 2019
2 MW of energy storage now included on Manhattan’s largest rooftop solar installation by NYPA

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) recently announced that the 1.4-megawatt (MW) solar energy project planned for the Javits Center will now include up to 2 MW of battery storage. The addition will allow excess generation from Manhattan’s largest rooftop solar array to be stored for use during times of peak power demand, reducing energy costs and helping New York State meet its solar and energy storage targets to fight climate change. The solar and storage installation will help move New York State further along on its path to economy-wide carbon neutrality and advance New York's nation-leading clean energy and jobs goals. Under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Green New Deal, the state is charged with generating 70% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

“Energy storage is vital to the successful integration of renewable energy into the electric grid,” said Tracy McKibben, a member of the board of trustees for the New York Power Authority (NYPA), which is leading the project.

New York is on a trajectory to achieve 1,500 MW of storage by 2025, enough electricity to power 1.2 million homes, and up to 3,000 MW by 2030.

NYPA’s board of trustees approved “back-to-back” power purchase agreements (PPAs) Wednesday that will make way for the construction of the commercial-scale solar photovoltaic and energy storage system on Javits’ green roof on Manhattan’s West Side. NYPA, as lead on the project, is entering into an agreement with Siemens Industry, Inc., the project’s developer, to purchase energy from the solar photovoltaic and energy storage system, and in turn sell that energy to the Javits Center. Under the agreement, Siemens will construct and own the system, and through the back-to-back agreement Javits will purchase the energy on a per kilowatt hour (kWh) basis.

The battery storage element was added during the design phase. The addition will enhance the efficiency of the electric grid by storing extra energy to use during periods of high electricity demand. Shifting generation to more valuable periods will result in greater savings and contribute to reduced carbon emissions.

Nearly 4,000 panels will be hosted on the rooftop and 11th Avenue sidewalk side of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. On the roof, the canopy-style solar arrays will be placed over existing air conditioning units. The project will offset more than 1.3 million pounds (lbs) of carbon emissions each year, which is equivalent to removing 262 cars from the road.

These systems will provide the Javits Center with approximately 1,450 kilowatts (kW) of solar PV capacity and 2,000 kW of energy storage capacity, which are expected to generate more than 1,800,000 kWh of electricity per year. Using the 2 MW energy storage system, the Javits Center will be able to support the overall state power grid in the high-usage area of Manhattan, through demand response (using the stored energy at high demand times) and other energy optimizing programs. Fluence, a Siemens-affiliated company based in Arlington, VA, is slated to provide the containerized battery storage unit.

With this solar array project, the Javits Center, which has undertaken numerous projects to drive sustainability efforts, will take another step closer to its own sustainability and renewable energy goals. Following a five-year renovation, the convention center’s 6.75-acre green roof has become a sanctuary for area wildlife, serving as a habitat to nearly 30 bird species and five bat species. The green roof has helped to reduce the building’s energy consumption by 26% while absorbing up to 7 million gallons (gal) of storm water a year.