New York City’s Largest Solar Project Unveiled


The Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) is now home to the largest solar photovoltaic facility in all of New York City.

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) installed 947 solar energy panels on the main roof of BMCC’s four-block-long 199 Chambers Street building. The five by three foot panels of 327 watts, many of which are visible from the streets of Tribeca, are hung vertically on the cooling tower enclosure walls and flat on the western lower roof facing the Hudson River for maximum exposure to the sun.

According to, the BMCC solar array is now the largest photovoltaic facility in Manhattan. It has the added distinction of being the first vertical solar facility in all of New York City—given its unobstructed views off the Hudson River. First proposed in 2008, the project’s design has improved as technology changed and after BMCC removed its old roof, installed four inches of R-25 insulation and recapped the four-block-long roof.

Capable of producing more than 1MWH of electricity each day, the BMCC solar array is expected to save the college more than $42,000 each year on its power bill.

Scott Anderson, vice president of administration and planning at BMCC, said on the site that the concentration of buildings in New York City is so dense that local leaders have come to embrace more aggressive policies that center on saving energy.

Project design and construction were led by The Fulcrum Group, which contracted with Solar Liberty and Maric Mechanical to complete the PV system installation.

New York Aiming for Efficiency

In August, a new report, signed by the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects and Urban Green Council, shows that the real estate industry believes reducing energy use in buildings is key to the city’s future.

The paper, “The Green Buildings Roadmap,” calls for the next administration to lay out a detailed, long-term plan to reduce energy use in all new and existing buildings and to require disclosure of that information when properties are sold. While the de Blasio administration’s carbon-reduction plan has made strides in monitoring the energy use of office towers and multifamily buildings, the four groups want to see similar efforts for small buildings, which make up a significant chunk of the city’s landscape.

And in October, it was announced that the city’s Urban Future Lab has incubated 40 companies that altogether raised $330 million in capital. Those startups include EVBox, an electric vehicle charging station manufacturer originally from the Netherlands that moved to New York to take advantage of supportive state and municipal policies, a representative for the lab says. The international energy company Engie acquired them in March. Currently EVBox is installing 3,000 electric vehicle-charging stations across New York State.


Vendors mentioned in this article:

  • The Fulcrum Group
  • Solar Liberty
  • Maric Mechanical
  • Urban Future Lab
  • EVBox
  • Engie


We are accepting submissions for the 2018 Energy Manager Today Product and Project Awards. The final deadline is December 15, 2017. Learn more here.


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