The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey today announced that Newark Liberty International Airport’s 5-megawatt (MW) solar project at the Terminal A parking garage, which is the largest single solar rooftop project at any U.S. airport, has generated one gigawatt-hour of power after just two months of operation. As part of the agency’s continued commitment to sustainability, Port Authority also announced a deal with TotalEnergies to begin construction of New York state’s largest solar carport at JFK in 2023.
“With the announcement of the largest single solar rooftop project at any airport in the nation, Newark Liberty continues to bolster its standing as a world-class transportation hub that is not only modern and welcoming but equipped to confront the challenges of our worsening climate crisis,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. “Indeed, as we continue to pursue a 100 percent clean-energy economy and a greener New Jersey, every institution and agency has a crucial role to play. While advancing PANYNJ’s critical efforts to prioritize sustainability, the unveiling of this project testifies to the significant progress we can – and will – achieve toward making our state greener and more resilient for generations to come.”
“New York is taking historic action to combat climate change, from investing in energy affordability to promoting clean air and water to mandating all vehicles sold in New York be zero emission by 2035,” said New York Governor Kathy Hochul. “The inclusion of a significant solar array as part of the redevelopment of JFK Airport will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, effectively repurpose heat energy for water management, and will limit the carbon footprint at one of the world’s busiest hubs. We will continue working closely together to create a greener future for our communities, our infrastructure, and our planet.”
“We became the first U.S. transportation agency to embrace the Paris Climate Agreement and have taken ambitious actions to do our part to mitigate the effects of climate change,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “As part of our longstanding commitment to environmental sustainability and reducing the emission of greenhouse gases in the New York and New Jersey region, the agency has made significant investments, such as these projects, in solar energy and other renewable energy sources.”
“The agency recognizes the transformative potential of solar energy,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “We have established a goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. These projects at JFK and Newark Liberty are part of the Port Authority’s aggressive climate action plan to meet the demands of a growing region by embarking on an unprecedented program to build the next generation of world-class infrastructure, all while focusing on reducing our environmental impact.”
Installed by ENGIE North America (ENGIE), a leader in energy transition, the canopy structure atop the parking garage servicing Newark Liberty’s new Terminal A features 12,708 solar panels covering 364,000 square feet, which is the equivalent of more than six football fields. The 5-MW solar project will generate enough energy to power approximately 833 homes.
“ENGIE is proud to support the Port Authority’s ambitious sustainability targets, aligned with our mission to accelerate the global transition toward net-zero carbon,” said Stefaan Sercu, ENGIE’s chief energy solutions officer. “Our team is excited to be an integral part of the Port Authority’s modern approach to becoming a more sustainable airport with the largest solar project build-out of any airport structure in the country while improving operations efficiency and reducing emissions.”
Additionally, the parking garage features more than 150 electric vehicle chargers for public use. To help reduce cost and lower energy utilization, the charging stations feature sophisticated load management software so that charging will be shared smartly from the garage’s solar energy and ensures appropriate power output for the number of cars and the duration someone will be parking there.
In 2020, the Port Authority Board of Commissioners authorized the development, construction, and operation of New York state’s largest onsite solar plus storage system at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The JFK solar installation will create a carport canopy with solar panels on top of the southern section of the airport’s Long Term Parking Lot 9, providing covered parking to approximately 3,000 parking spaces. The 12.3-MW solar energy system includes 7.5 MW of battery storage, which will provide enhanced resilience to AirTrain JFK. With construction expected to begin in 2024, the project is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 5,300 metric tons annually, and the solar-generated electricity provided to the grid will serve low-income residents who may be eligible to receive credits on utility bills through the New York state community solar program.
Similarly, the Port Authority installed more than 3,500 solar panels on the rooftop of the newly built parking garage on the western side of LaGuardia Airport, which produces more than 1.7 million kilowatt-hours of clean, renewable energy annually as part of the agency’s net-zero emissions targets announced in 2021.
As part of the redevelopment of John F. Kennedy International Airport, the future New Terminal One will feature a rooftop array and integrated microgrid to help reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The panels — some 13,000 of them — will feed energy into an 11.34-MW microgrid. Each of the system’s four “power islands” is designed to function as an integrated energy system; together, the microgrid will boast 7.66 MW of rooftop solar power, 3.68 MW of natural gas fuel cells, and four megawatt-hours of battery energy storage. Reclaimed heat will be used to chill and heat water. The rooftop’s photovoltaic array alone can create enough electricity to power 1,039 average U.S. homes for a year.
Newark Liberty’s new Terminal A has been designed and constructed to achieve LEED silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and features a variety of sustainability features, including water efficient fixtures saving more than 45 percent on potable water demand, a “cool roof” and light-colored pavements to reduce heat gain on the building and heat-island effect on the surrounding environment, energy-efficient indoor lighting and controls, solar photovoltaic system on the western entrance canopy, materials with recycled content and regionally procured, low-emitting materials and paints to improve indoor air quality.
Terminal A was also designed to withstand today’s 100-year flood plus projected future sea level rise.
Revolutionizing ground operations, the Port Authority airports are also providing infrastructure to support electric ground support equipment (GSE) as well as new electric buses to support shuttle operations. On-site solar and other renewable energy initiatives are among seven key areas that the agency’s overall sustainability program encompasses, along with clean electric vehicles; energy efficiency; “green” facilities; clean ship practices for ocean-going vessels; offshore wind, and partnering to combat climate change.
A variety of solar projects are across Port Authority facilities, including a 600-kilowatt solar roof on a PATH warehouse rooftop.