Yorktown Approves IBM Solar Project at Watson Facility

Yorktown Approves IBM Solar Project at Watson Facility

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY—The Yorktown Planning Board approved on Monday (Feb. 8) a solar canopy for IBM’s Watson facility that the town estimates will eliminate 6.8 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

IBM will build a solar panel canopy over a large parking lot at 1101 Kitchawan Road in Yorktown Heights. The construction project will take 12 months.

“Last year we put action to words by adopting smart-growth solar rules that allow our local businesses and property owners with large tracts of land to invest in technologies that benefit all of us with a cleaner and greener environment. This solar canopy is the latest example,” said Supervisor Matt Slater.

When completed, IBM’s solar canopy will produce 6,363 mega-watt hours of power in its first year. The estimated reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from using solar power is equivalent to removing 648 cars from local roads for a year. No cost for the project was released.

The solar canopy will be built by EnterSolar of New York City. Its solar projects in Westchester County include a rooftop system at PepsiCo in Purchase; a parking canopy at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in Tarrytown and a rooftop system at Zwilling J. A. Henckels in Pleasantville.

IBM Solar Canopy

EnterSolar’s representative noted that the solar canopy will help bolster the resilience of a nearby Con Edison substation that has capacity limitations.

“White the project primarily benefits IBM and its employees, the benefits actually extend to the larger community,” EnterSolar’s business development director Dennis Phayre told the Planning Board during a public information session. “One is the overall environmental benefit of being able to provide renewable energy to the community. (Others are) being able to retire the brown generating plants that are within the Hudson River Valley and being able to retire Indian Point.”

IBM’s solar canopy will reduce the amount of impermeable surfaces on the property. The company will plant 120 native trees to replace the 31 trees that will be removed. Construction will mostly occur during business hours and work crews will adhere to town noise ordinances.

IBM’s solar canopy is the latest solar initiative in Yorktown. Yorktown’s recent efforts to promote solar power include:

• The November approval of the installation of a solar panel array in the parking lot of the Granite Knolls Sports Complex.

• The September adoption of new laws regulating solar panel arrays and solar power storage devices.

• The August agreement with Sustainable Westchester to educate residents about vetted solar-power enrollment opportunities.

• A December energy credit purchase agreement with Lodestar Energy that will deliver solar-produced electricity to municipal buildings, reduce the town’s carbon footprint by 70% and save the town an estimated $30,000 a year.

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