De Blasio Wants to Boost NYC Solar Power Five-Fold

NEW YORK (AP) -

Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to increase the solar power capacity of city-owned buildings five-fold from what it is now, mayoral aides said Wednesday, ahead of his State of the City address.

The push comes as part of an ambitious plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the country’s most populous city by 80 percent by 2050.

As part of the new initiative, the panels will be placed on 88 additional buildings, including 66 schools, the Queens Museum, Bellevue Hospital and the Abe Stark Ice Skating Rink on Coney Island.

“New York City is a global leader in taking on climate change,” de Blasio said in a statement. “We have no choice but to move toward renewables and away from fossil fuels. The future of our city and our planet depend on it.”

Currently, 35 city-owned buildings have solar installations, producing nearly 5 megawatts of power, up from 0.7 megawatts when de Blasio took office in early 2014. A megawatt can power about 150 homes. The new plan will add 19 megawatts. The mayor’s aides said it will help the city reach its goal of generating 100 megawatts of renewable energy in public buildings by 2025.

De Blasio is breaking with tradition in delivering this year’s State of the City address. Instead of delivering the annual speech in the afternoon, he’s delivering the address at night in the hopes of landing more viewers. It was scheduled to take place in the Bronx.

His aides have previewed some of his new proposals, including an app that allows drivers to pay parking meters via their phones; an economic development project for Governor’s Island, the 22-acre national monument that sits in New York Harbor near the Statue of Liberty; and a $2.5 billion streetcar system that would run for 16 miles along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront.