Freshkills operated as a landfill from 1948 to 2001. (Credit: AFP/Getty
Staten Island's Freshkills Park, once the world's largest landfill, will soon be home to the city's largest solar panel facility, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Monday.
"Thanks to the agreement today we will increase the amount of solar energy produced in New York City by 50 percent, and it is only fitting that Freshkills, once a daily dumping ground, will become a showcase urban renewal and sustainability," Bloomberg said.
Approximately 47 acres of land will be leased to SunEdison, which was selected through a public bidding process, to design, construct and operate the solar panels that will generate up to 10 megawatts of power, enough to power about 2,000 homes.
The city will apply to map an additional 1,500 acres of Freshkills into parkland, officially bringing the total for Freshkills Park to 2,200 acres. The application will include a provision for specific sites at Freshkills to develop renewable energy.
"We are putting [Freshkills] on the map as a model for clean and renewable energy,” said Parks and Recreation Commissioner Veronica White. "When you visit Freshkills Park today, it’s hard to imagine it was ever a landfill."
The project is scheduled to break ground in late 2015.
Once complete, Freshkills will put the city's parkland at over 30,000 acres. It will also give Staten Island the largest park acreage of the five boroughs, representing 28 percent of the city's parkland.