The Future Can Be Bright for Solar Energy in White Plains
White Plains Mayoral Candidate, Milagros Lecuona, has a plan to bring clean, renewable energy opportunities—and their related economic benefits—to our City. And in the State of New York, she is not alone. Governor Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard commitment will require 50% of New York State’s electricity to be sourced from renewable energy sources by 2030.[i]
As the current Chair of the Sustainable White Plains Committee, she is championing her proposal to build a large-scale solar array on top of the decommissioned landfill at Gedney Yard, which was capped and completed in December 2013. Today, the engineering features of the closure design allow the City of White Plains to use the property as a Department of Public Works operations yard, but the remaining idle space on top of the capped landfill represents a missed opportunity for clean electricity generation.
The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the burning of fossil fuels is a major contributor to climate change. Solar panels use the energy from the sun to produce clean power. Solar energy would also provide predictability and long-term prolonged savings to the City of White Plains’ energy costs, an extremely volatile area of the City’s operational budget.
Under New York’s net metering law and other incentives to establish a public/private partnership with a solar installation and financing partner, a solar field on the Gedney Yard landfill could be done with little to no cost to White Plains taxpayers. Under such an arrangement, the City’s solar partner would own the project (including installing, operating, and maintaining the solar installation) pursuant to a multi-year Power Purchase Agreement, a very common contract for solar projects between the parties that generate and purchase electricity.
To understand the potential success of this project, we need look no further than to our neighbors across the Hudson River in the Town of Clarkstown. In 2014, they partnered with OnForce Solar, a leading provider of solar energy systems, to build a 2.364-megawatt solar array on 13 acres of a decommissioned, capped landfill in West Nyack. Today, the system generates 2,800,000 kilowatt hours of clean energy per year and is expected to save taxpayers $4M over the lifetime of the system. The system offsets over 2,000 metric tons of GHG emissions annually.[ii]
Since 2013, Councilwoman Lecuona has presented this and other solar energy proposals to White Plains Mayor, Thomas Roach. To move the Gedney Yard solar opportunity forward, she set up multiple meetings with experts, potential solar partners and Administration officials. The response from the Mayor over the last three to four years? Silence.
It is time to change business-as-usual at City Hall. New York State is already investing in next-generation systems that will deliver clean, resilient, and affordable energy for all New Yorkers. Milagros Lecuona will make sure White Plains residents are not left behind. She has many ideas to ensure that we can be at the forefront of helping to lead the transition to a clean energy future in New York, while reaping the benefits for our local families, neighborhoods, workers and small businesses.
This is just one of many plans Milagros has that will improve the community in White Plains. As Mayor, she will stand up for White Plains families, neighborhoods, workers and small businesses. It is time to change business as usual at City Hall.
Let’s build a better White Plains, together.
Lecuona for White Plains
269 Old Mamaroneck Road
White Plains NY 10605 United States
Solar panels cover a field at the old Clarkstown landfill in West Nyack, New York. This is an example of what could be installed at a capped landfill in White Plains. Photo courtesy of Peter Carr, The Journal News / Lohud.
"Let’s build a better White Plains and embrace a clean energy future for our children, together." —Milagros Lecuona