The Big Apple knows how to do big. Freshkills Park in Staten Island, formerly the world’s largest landfill, is slowly but surely being transformed into New York City’s largest park. It will provide reaction and aesthetic value, but the new park will also become the city’s largest solar farm.
47 of Freshkills Park’s 2,200 acres are slated for solarization, as the land has been leased for 20 years by SunEdison, a California based solar power plant operator and energy provider. When the installation is complete,the electricity from SunEdison’s panels will channel into the city’s ConEdison electrical grid, and the site has the potential to generate 10 megawatts of power, or the amount needed to power around 2,000 homes. Freshkills Park also has the capacity to boost New York City’s renewable energy generation by a whopping 50%.
The Staten Island based park and facility is scheduled to begin solar panel installation in 2015, with a fully operational plant by 2016. It represents major urban environmental efforts by Mayor Bloomberg, who stated at the park in November that Freshkills would be “the largest solar power installation ever developed within the five boroughs.” He reflected on the past twelve years progress, notably wetlands and vegetation restoration, in addition to a number of recreational parks and soccer fields that border the site’s perimeter.
Bloomberg proudly stated that “Freshkills, once a daily dumping ground, will become a showcase of urban renewable and sustainability.” The conversion of the park will bring the City’s total parklands to 30,000 acres- truly astonishing when you take into consideration that the area is larger than the city of San Francisco.
While New York is taking great strides to adopt green energy, the Mayor cautions, “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.”