Look to the rooftop for the real show at this Manhattan convention center

Sept. 26, 2022
New York’s Javits Center attracts some big-name shows, among them NYC Comic Con. However, an even more impressive — but lesser known — act is happening on its rooftop.

New York’s Javits Center attracts some big-name shows, among them NYC Comic Con. However, an even more impressive — but lesser known — act is happening on its rooftop.

There you’ll find what the convention center describes as the largest rooftop solar array in Manhattan, which is part of a 13-MW microgrid.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul drew attention to the convention center’s rooftop last week when she chose it as the site to announce the state’s distributed solar achievements. New York now has 4 GW of distributed solar, which, along with other projects under development, means that the state could beat its goal to have 6 GW of distributed solar by 2025 and 10 GW by 2030. 

The announcement came during a week when other microgrids were also vying for the stature of biggest in various other categories. See the related stories (both from Australia) that we published today: Australia nickel mine plans to host world’s largest renewable microgrid and Australia’s largest rooftop solar microgrid coming to logistics facility.

The Javits Center microgrid is part of the new 1.2-million square foot building expansion at the Hudson Yards convention center.  The center features 1,400 solar panels, which will be supplemented next year with a 3.5-MW battery energy storage system, three diesel generators, and microgrid and building control equipment. The microgrid will allow the center to function off-grid for up to six consecutive days, according to the Javits Center 2021 Sustainability Report.

As part of the energy project, developed by Siemens, the convention center connected a new power management system and an existing building management system so that electrical equipment can be monitored and controlled. The building can engage in automatic load shedding, as well as monitoring and forecasting via a connection with the New York Energy Manager system. 

Once the solar project is complete it will be owned and operated under an as-a-service agreement by Calibrant Energy — a joint venture between Macquarie’s Green Investment Group and Siemens’ Smart Infrastructure and Financial Services groups. NYPA will then sell the solar power to the Javits Center at a predetermined rate.

The rooftop also features what the convention center says is one of the largest green rooftops, which includes a one-acre farm designed to grow up to 40,000 pounds of produce annually, and a wildlife habitat.

“Installing a rooftop solar array atop the Javits Center is the next major step in our sustainability journey, and it has been an honor to work with Governor Hochul, NYPA and Siemens to create this remarkable — and renewable — source of energy on Manhattan’s West Side,” said Alan Steel, Javits Center CEO. “From serving as a wildlife sanctuary to operating a one-acre farm, our rooftop is unlike any other in New York state, and we hope our efforts inspire others to explore sustainable building as we bring people together for events during Climate Week NYC.”

A video of the installation overview can be viewed here.

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About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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