Albany, N.Y., July 20, 2023—Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the completion of the largest rooftop solar project in New York State. Located in Orange County atop a distribution center owned by Medline Industries, the nation’s largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of medical products, the 7.2-megawatt community solar project is helping to reduce energy costs for both the company and residents in the Mid-Hudson region. Today’s announcement supports New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to install six gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025 and accelerates progress toward ten gigawatts by 2030.
“New York continues to be an example to other states with our aggressive development of renewable energy, and our commitment to clean, affordable solar is key to us successfully building a zero-emission electricity grid,” Governor Hochul said. “The completion of this project marks another major milestone in the Empire State and reflects a successful trend of private investment in community-centered projects that are now at the heart of our clean energy transition.”
The community solar project, comprised of more than 17,000 panels, was completed on May 26, 2023, and generates 8.5 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean power annually, enough to power over 1,600 homes, while reducing carbon emission by nearly 6,000 metric tons annually, the equivalent of taking over 1,200 cars off the road. The over $8 million project, sited in the Town of Montgomery, was built with nearly $5 million in private investment. PowerFlex – a national provider of solar, storage, and electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions for commercial customers, developed the project for Medline Industries. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) provided over $3 million in project support through NY-Sun, the State’s signature initiative to advance the scale-up of solar while driving costs down and making solar energy more accessible to homes, businesses, and communities.
NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen Harris said, “Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, New York is the nation’s top community solar market – attracting new strategic private-public partnerships to help us transform the way we power homes and businesses. The vision and commitment shared by Medline Industries and Powerflex for this project serves as a model to other commercial properties considering hosting similar projects that can reduce their carbon footprint while expanding access to solar for residents in the surrounding community.”
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “Sustainable sources of power are one of the key factors propelling us into a future of environmentally conscious economic development. With this project, we are proven front runners in clean energy and are demonstrating that bold partnerships between private and community stakeholders lead to unparalleled success in New York State.”
PowerFlex CEO Raphael Declercq said, “As the project developer, we are proud to have helped bring this record-breaking New York rooftop community solar project into reality. PowerFlex’s partnership with Medline over the years has enabled the installation of multiple solar projects across the country, and we commend their deep and ongoing commitment to sustainability.”
Medline Vice President of ESG Francesca Olivier said, “Medline is unwavering in its commitment to building an environmentally sustainable business by investing in green technologies. The installation of New York’s largest rooftop solar project at our Montgomery distribution center exemplifies our dedication to making healthcare more sustainable for providers and their patients in the state.”
Community solar involves a large array of solar panels that allows homeowners and renters to access solar power without installing panels on their homes. Energy is still delivered through their regular electric provider while the power produced from the community solar array is fed directly back to the electric grid and customers receive credits on their electricity bill.
Medline’s distribution center, which opened in August 2022, employs more than 700 people distributing products and devices to healthcare providers, such as hospitals, nursing homes, and ambulatory surgery centers. The facility will utilize 40 percent of the clean energy generated by the solar project, leaving 60 percent available for approximately 600 residents, who can subscribe to the system and receive credits on their electricity bill for an estimated 10 percent monthly savings. In exchange for a commitment to retain 344 and create 266 new jobs, Empire State Development awarded Medline up to $10 million in Excelsior Jobs Tax Credits.
Today’s announcement builds on New York’s success under NY-Sun, through which solar across the state has grown over 3,000 percent since 2012, leveraged over $7.4 billion in private investments and decreased the cost of solar by 72 percent since the initiative’s inception. There are currently over 4,600 megawatts of distributed solar in operation, with nearly 3,500 megawatts in late-stage development moving towards completion. In 2022, New York became the top community solar market in the United States, providing nearly half of the nation’s community solar capacity last year. There are approximately 13,400 people engaged in solar jobs across New York.
Assemblymember Didi Barrett said, “Rooftop solar will play a key role in reaching New York State’s renewable energy goals, and it is because of programs like NY-SUN that we saw a 49 percent increase in rooftop solar installations over the last year. It’s great news that the largest rooftop solar project in New York State at Medline Industries is located right here in the Hudson Valley. I thank Governor Kathy Hochul and NYSERDA for their ongoing support for important projects like this.”
New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) Executive Director Noah Ginsburg said, “This 7.2 megawatt rooftop community solar project highlights the opportunity for New York’s manufacturers and industrial businesses to strengthen their profitability with solar power while providing electric bill savings to New Yorkers and supporting progress toward our ambitious clean energy goals. This project was enabled by New York’s nation-leading community solar and NY-Sun programs, and executed by our innovative business leaders. New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) would like to congratulate Governor Hochul, NYSERDA, Medline Industries, and Powerflex on the completion of this impactful solar project.”
Coalition for Community Solar Access Northeast Regional Director Kate Daniel said, “We are proud to celebrate this landmark project for New York State. This project proudly demonstrates how we can unlock the full potential of community solar by efficiently using space to deploy clean energy and leveraging private investment to build public infrastructure that delivers meaningful energy savings to the community. New York’s leading community solar policies and commitment to advancing equitable energy make projects like this possible. We applaud Gov. Hochul, NYSERDA, and the Department of Public Service for their diligent work to make local solar energy accessible to all New Yorkers through community solar.”
New York League of Conservation Voters President Julie Tighe said, “We are thrilled to see the completion of the rooftop solar project in Orange County with its 7.2 megawatts of clean energy slated for the mid-Hudson region’s homes and businesses. As the largest installation of its kind in the state, this project is not only enormous in scale, it is an ironclad demonstration of Governor Hochul’s continued commitment to the growth of solar energy and, more broadly, to ensuring New York is a leader in the fight against climate change.”
New York State’s Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State’s nation-leading climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues to foster a green economy across all sectors and ensures that at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities. Guided by some of the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives, New York is on a path to achieving a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and economywide carbon neutrality by mid-century. A cornerstone of this transition is New York’s unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $3.3 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. These and other investments are supporting more than 165,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2021 and over 3,000 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, New York also adopted zero-emission vehicle regulations, including requiring all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the State be zero emission by 2035. Partnerships are continuing to advance New York’s climate action with nearly 400 registered and 100 certified Climate Smart Communities, nearly 500 Clean Energy Communities, and the State’s largest community air monitoring initiative in 10 disadvantaged communities across the state to help target air pollution and combat climate change.