Marketing & Press Releases

Turnbridge Equities Plans to Bring One of the Largest Solar Projects in New York City to the South Bronx

New York City based owner and developer Turnbridge Equities is currently under construction on its 1.3 million square feet Bronx Logistics Center project on East 149th Street in Hunts Point. The project, which was the largest permit filing by square footage in New York City in 2021, is scheduled to deliver later this year and will include a 2.9-megawatt solar system on the roof of the warehouse structure. At over 6,600 panels, the system upon completion will be one of the largest single solar projects in New York City, bringing the City and State a step closer to its ambitious climate goals outlined over the last decade. The project is notable because all of the panels will sit upon carport structures that allow building tenants to park vehicles (as large as Sprinter vans) beneath the panels.

The 2.9-megawatt system adds to Turnbridge’s portfolio of 22.5 megawatts of solar projects owned or in development, including 4.7 megawatts within New York City. In addition to Bronx Logistics Center, Turnbridge is developing a 0.7-megawatt system on its 807 Bank Street development that will deliver later this year through a similar but smaller-scale carport system.

Over the last few years, New York State has laid the groundwork for one of the nation’s most aggressive climate agendas, which has had significant implications for owners of real estate in New York City.

The impending enforcement of Local Law 97 in particular has driven headlines, grabbing attention for the significant penalties potentially facing many owners of real estate larger than 25,000 square feet throughout the City beginning in 2024. Local Law 97 serves as the teeth for New York City’s Climate Mobilization Act passed in 2019, which requires greenhouse gas emissions to be lower by 40% by 2030, and 80% lower by 2050.

According to a November 2022 report from the City Comptroller, 30% of existing buildings are not expected to be able to meet the carbon emission limits in the initial 2024 screening, with the largest offenders coming from the City’s most energy-intensive skyscrapers. The same report estimates 70% of buildings will not be able to meet the lower limits set out for the second screening under Local Law 97 that will come in 2030.

The jury is still out on how the largest owners of real estate, largely concentrated in Manhattan, will react. The ability to generate renewable energy within the relatively small footprint of office and multifamily towers is slim, which has most landlords looking toward external solutions. Renewal Energy Credits, known as RECs, are a mechanism by which landlords are able to offset their “net” carbon emissions while remaining plugged into the grid.

RECs are a market-based instrument granted by the federal government to renewable energy producers, and serve as a potential way for owners of real estate in New York City to indirectly reduce their carbon footprint. The guidance from the City on the use of RECs has been mixed. While some landlords have been counting on being able to offset the majority of their emissions with RECs, the City Comptroller’s office has floated the idea of potentially capping the emissions able to be offset to 30%, which has gained recent traction with environmental groups.

“It’s clear that the City and State still have some work to do to better define how RECs will be utilized in light of Local Law 97,” said Turnbridge Equities Managing Principal, Ryan Nelson. “That being said, it’s hard to imagine how the City can practically meet its goals without incorporating RECs as part of the solution given the enormous ask made to real estate owners.”