Stuytown Project Will Triple Manhattan’s Solar Output

East Side, Manhattan

Stuytown Solar

Stuytown (foreground) will soon have 10,000 rooftop solar panels

Nov. 9, 2017

One good turn deserves another at the sprawling Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village apartment complexes on the East Side of Manhattan. With its curbside organics recycling program up and running – and diverting 10,000 pounds of waste from landfills every week – the complex’s management has announced that it will begin installing the largest array of rooftop solar panels in Manhattan, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Blackstone Group and Ivanhoé Cambridge are planning to spend more than $10 million to install close to 10,000 solar panels on the roofs of 56 of the complex’s buildings. The panels will provide enough power for about 1,000 apartments annually, generating about 6 percent the total energy consumed in the 80-acre complex. 

Blackstone executives say the project will triple Manhattan’s capacity to generate solar power. The company also recognizes the public-relations value of installing solar power on a complex that has historically been a lightning rod on affordable housing and other community issues. “When we made our original investment, we made a promise to be partners with the city and community,” says Nadeem Meghji, Blackstone’s head of real estate in the Americas. “This is just an extension of that promise.” 

Stuytown is one of the last middle-class bastions in a city that’s been faced with soaring housing costs. Concern about its future intensified during the boom years when it was acquired by a venture led by Tishman Speyer and BlackRock for an eye-popping $5.4 billion. When the recession hit, the investment ran into serious financial trouble. The Blackstone group bought the distressed property for $5.3 billion. 

New York City has been a national leader in building energy efficiency, according to Russell Unger, executive director of the nonprofit Urban Green Council. He says that between 2010 and 2015, buildings reduced their energy use 10 percent and their emissions by 14 percent, with a lot of the improvement coming from buildings converting from oil to natural gas. Solar energy certainly hasn't hurt.

Work on the Stuytown solar installation is expected to begin this winter and be completed in 2019.

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