MTA Press Releases

Press Release
April 22, 2019
MTA Launching New Solar Roof Initiative to Generate Green Energy and New Revenue
RFP Will Begin Process of Activating Up To 10 Million Square Feet of MTA Rooftops for Solar Panel Installations

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced today that it is launching a new initiative that will generate clean, emission free, solar electricity as well as begin to open up a new frontier of previously untapped revenue: the leasing of potentially millions of square feet of industrial roof space to companies interested in generating solar power.

Thanks to a steady fall in capital costs of solar panel and non-roof penetrating installation technologies, it is increasingly commonplace for industrial and warehouse buildings in the New York metropolitan region to place solar panels on their rooftops. This practice has also spread to buildings in public-sector portfolios, including universities and City buildings. 

The MTA, the largest public transportation agency in the United States, has identified more than 100 bus depots, train yards, repair shops, and commuter lots across all MTA agencies – totaling more than 10 million square feet of industrial roof space – which would be suitable for solar development.  Fully realized, these properties present an opportunity to develop more than 100 megawatts of emission-free electricity for New Yorkers – enough to power 18,000 households.  The MTA hopes to achieve a significant new revenue stream from this activity, with little to no capital investment of its own, by way of leasing the valuable real estate to companies that would use it to install solar panels and generate clean electricity to sell back to the municipal grid.

“Green energy always had a dual benefit – it can help save the planet and it can be a big money-maker as well,” said MTA Chief Development Officer Janno Lieber.  “The MTA is already one of the nation’s leading forces in reducing carbon emissions.  The recently approved Central Business District Tolling system will also reduce emissions and generate funds for the MTA, and this common-sense, innovative new program will further help the environment while generating a significant amount of new revenue for the MTA.”

“The MTA’s operations avert annual greenhouse gas emissions of more 17 million metric tons, and this initiative will take our environmental leadership to a whole new level,” said Projjal Dutta, MTA Director of Sustainability.  “We have contributed to the Earth’s wellness by keeping millions of daily commuters out of cars and engendering compact development.  With the Solar RFP the MTA will also become New York’s newest home for significant renewable power generation.”

A Request for Proposals goes public on Earth Day 2019.  It proposes the solar development of seven MTA properties, belonging to NYC Transit, LIRR and Metro-North Railroad, generating an estimated 6.5 megawatts of emissions-free electricity for thousands of New York households. This RFP includes locations uniquely chosen to serve as a representative combination of existing roofs and parking lots:

  • Ulmer Park Bus Depot | NYCT Department of Buses
  • Queens Village Bus Depot | NYCT Department of Buses
  • Coney Island Maintenance Facility | NYCT Department of Subways
  • Jamaica Maintenance Facility | NYCT Department of Subways
  • Hillside Support Facility | Long Island Rail Road
  • Cortlandt Station Parking Lot | Metro-North Railroad
  • Wassaic Station Operations Lot | Metro-North Railroad

All locations were carefully selected in partnership between the MTA Department of Environmental Sustainability and Compliance, MTA Real Estate, and the individual operating agencies. Chosen rooftops and parking lots fit the necessary requirements of having new roofs/new pavement, large quantities of unobstructed roof space, and local energy demand.

Tours of the initial seven sites are being held for interested proposers next month, and RFP negotiations are expected to begin in the fall.

Images: Roof of Coney Island Maintenance Facility, existing and with solar panel renderings.


MTA's 2019 Earth Day initiative

MTA's 2019 Earth Day initiative