New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has launched a new initiative that will lease industrial roof space to companies interested in generating solar power.
Thanks to a steady fall in capital costs of solar technologies, it is increasingly commonplace for industrial and warehouse buildings in the New York metropolitan region to place solar panels on their rooftops, explains the MTA.
The MTA, the largest public transportation agency in the U.S., has identified more than 100 bus depots, train yards, repair shops and commuter lots across all MTA agencies – totaling more than 10 million square feet of industrial roof space – that would be suitable for solar development. Fully realized, these properties present an opportunity to develop more than 100 MW of emission-free electricity for New Yorkers – enough to power 18,000 households.
The MTA also hopes to achieve a significant new revenue stream from this initiative – with little to no capital investment of its own – by way of leasing the real estate to companies that would use it to install solar, generate clean electricity and sell it back to the municipal grid.
“Green energy always had a dual benefit; it can help save the planet, and it can be a big money-maker, as well,” says the MTA’s chief development officer, Janno Lieber.
A request for proposals (RFP) went public on April 22. It proposes solar development on seven MTA properties belonging to NYC Transit, LIRR and Metro-North Railroad. RFP negotiations are expected to begin in the fall.