The Brooklyn Navy Yard dates back to 1801. Today, the Yard is a thriving industrial park with more than 300 businesses that employ more than 7,000 people. Its Building 92 has been an exhibition and employment center since 2011. It celebrates the Yard’s past, present and future and its role as a national model for sustainable urban industry and job creation. This week, New York mayor Bill De Blasio was on hand to dedicate a new solar installation atop Building 293. Consisting of 3,152 panels, the array will generate more than 1.1 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, electricity that will help power the businesses that call the Naval Yard home.

Brooklyn Navy Yard solar system

The solar installation is one of the largest in New York City. It will help keep 1.4 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions out of the skies over New York every year and save 76,000 gallons of gasoline as well. Mayor De Blasio told those in attendance, “We’re doubling jobs at the Navy Yard, and those workers, computers and machines will need sustainable energy. On rooftops across the city, we’re installing new solar panels to cut emissions, create green jobs and save money.”

“The City’s ambitious OneNYC goal to achieve an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050 will require a transformation in our energy sector. A dramatic expansion of solar power is critical to that effort,” said Daniel Zarrilli, NYC’s Senior Director of Climate Policy and Programs, and Chief Resilience Officer. “By developing this large solar array, the Brooklyn Navy Yard is demonstrating its continued leadership on clean energy and is helping to reach the City’s 1,000 MW solar target by 2030. Investments like this support the creation of good ‘cleantech’ jobs, helping to build a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable New York City.”

ConEdison Solutions, a leading national energy services company, installed the solar panels and will operate and maintain the solar installation. It arranged for $625,863 in New York State Energy Research and Development Authority incentives that helped pay for the system. The solar installation is a big step forward toward New York City’s  target of 1,000 megawatts of solar power by 2030. That’s enough electricity to power more than 250,000 homes. The money is part of a $1 billion fund the state of New York has set up to promote renewable energy and lower greenhouse gas emissions all across New York.

John B. Rhodes, president and CEO of NYSERDA said, “Solar in New York State has grown 575 percent between 2012 and 2015 and this strong growth continues, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, growing jobs and helping the State build a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers.”

Even though New York does not have quite the favorable climactic conditions for solar that Nevada, Arizona and other Sunbelt states do, it is a leader in installed solar to date. While others fret and fuss about the changes that solar power are bringing to the utility industry, New York has embraced renewable energy wholeheartedly. Those other states would do well to look to New York as a guide towards the future of energy.

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