Emergency Preparedness, Energy Management and Lighting, Sustainability/Business Continuity

NYC Firehouses Install ‘Resilient’ Solar Projects to Protect Against Blackouts

City officials have announced completion of a $2.4 million project to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems atop six New York City Fire Department (FDNY) firehouses in Queens and Brooklyn. In addition to generating emissions-free energy, these systems will use battery storage to ensure that the firehouses remain operational during blackouts, brownouts, or storms if electric service is interrupted.

Courtesy: DCAS

According to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), the project will advance the city’s goal of reducing emissions from municipal operations and protecting critical infrastructure. The project was funded by DCAS and managed by DCAS and the New York Power Authority.

“FDNY firehouses are among the most critical infrastructure in our city, and it’s imperative that its key functions remain operable in the face of power loss,” said DCAS Commissioner Dawn M. Pinnock. “We are proud to work with NYPA to bring these solar upgrades to firehouses that need it the most in our pursuit to better serve all New Yorkers. Work like this is how we build a stronger, more resilient New York.”

NYPA Acting President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll added, “New York’s first responders are the best in the nation, and they deserve facilities that are as prepared and reliable as they are.” 

Each of the six firehouses now feature a solar PV system installed on the roof and are paired with a battery bank which keeps them charged in case of an outage. The batteries are wired to power critical functions in the firehouse whenever power is lost. Among these functions are the ability to operate the roll-up doors, communication devices, fuel pumps, some of the lights, and electrical outlets.

According to DCAS, solar panels and batteries are the key elements to provide emergency and resilient energy. Unlike generators, the solar PV panels with batteries can provide quiet and continuous energy regardless of a fuel shortage. The solar PV systems will also conserve energy and save the city government money by offsetting electrical usage.

The six firehouses were selected for this upgrade because they had all recently experienced power outages. The six sites are as follows:

  • Engine Company 260 – Astoria, Queens
  • Engine Company 291 & Ladder 140 – Ridgewood, Queens
  • Engine Company 302 & Ladder 155 – Jamaica, Queens
  • Engine Company 254 & Ladder 153 – Gravesend, Brooklyn
  • Engine Company 236 – East New York, Brooklyn
  • Engine Company 309 & Ladder 159 – Flatlands, Brooklyn

DCAS is currently planning new future resilient solar PV storage projects with an emphasis on prioritizing additional firehouses, police stations, libraries, and other critical facilities.