SunEdison to build 10 MW facility on former New York landfill

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg announced this week that a 10 MW solar farm will be built on a former landfill site on Staten Island – a project that will increase the city’s renewable energy output by as much as 50%.

The solar farm, planned for completion in the second half of 2015, will be constructed and operated by SunEdison Inc., who will install between 30,000 – 35,000 solar panels across 47 acres at a location Freshkills Park, a former major landfill site that is now recreational parkland.

"It is only fitting that Freshkills, once a daily dumping ground, will become a showcase of urban renewal and sustainability," said Mayor Bloomberg, adding that solar power was the most obvious, viable and affordable option for a city intent on upping its share of renewable energy generation capacity.

"I don’t think there’s any question,“ continued Bloomberg, “Solar, actually, because of a dramatic reduction in the cost of panels, has become competitive without subsidies with other forms of energy."

Once complete, the 10 MW solar plant will generate enough clean energy to power an estimated 2,000 local households annually, with scope to expand as the city extends the Freshkills Park boundaries beyond its current scope of 47 acres.

The Bloomberg administration has revealed its ambitious plans too extend the Freshkills area into an additional 1,500 acres of parkland: a move that will take the total parkland acreage in New York past 30,000 acres, which is an area greater in size than the entire city of San Francisco.

Mayor Bloomberg added: "Freshkills was once the site of the largest landfill in the world. Soon it will be one of the city’s largest parks, and the site of the largest solar power installation ever developed within the five boroughs."

At a press conference earlier this week, New York’s deputy mayor for operations, Cas Holloway, revealed more details about the city’s solar power appetite, stating: "Developing solar energy on Freshkills Park shows that large-scale renewable energy projects are possible in New York City, but this is only a first step.

"If we are serious about meeting New York City’s tremendous energy needs from renewable sources we need the state and federal governments, as well as our utility partners and others in the private sector, to work with us to make solar and other renewable energies easier to develop, install, and access the energy grid."

SunEdison, a U.S.-based solar energy provider, is funding the total cost of the development and installation, leasing the land from the city for an undisclosed period of time.