Memorandums of Understanding Will Allow State to Explore Feasibility of Hosting Build-Ready Renewable Energy Projects on Underutilized Sites in the Southern Tier, Western NY, and Long Island

April 24, 2024

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced three agreements for multiple sites for potential renewable energy development in the Southern Tier, Western New York, and Long Island. Under these memorandums of understanding (MOU), NYSERDA’s Build-Ready Program will work closely with Ithaca College, City of Niagara Falls, and Town of East Hampton and to explore the feasibility of developing renewable energy projects on otherwise underutilized sites such as landfills and parking lots. Today’s announcement represents progress under the State’s Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act and advances New York’s goal for 70% of the State’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030 under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, "New York continues to cultivate a portfolio of underutilized sites that offer municipalities and the private sector opportunities to re-imagine these spaces and turn them into revenue-generating sources of clean energy. These agreements with the Town of East Hampton, City of Niagara Falls, and Ithaca College will help us further explore the potential of these projects and we look forward to ongoing collaboration with municipalities and partners across the state as we work with local communities to meet New York’s 70 by 30 renewable energy goal.”

Ithaca College (Tompkins County)
An MOU was executed by NYSERDA with Ithaca College, located in the Town of Ithaca, in Tompkins County in relation to several parking lots on the college’s campus. The parking lots are being considered for hosting solar canopies that will provide shade for vehicles while generating clean energy and supporting clean transportation with the potential integration of electric vehicle (EV) chargers and battery energy storage systems. The potential project, which is expected to benefit the students, support the college’s goal to improve campus environmental, social, and financial sustainability and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

City of Niagara Falls (Niagara County)
The MOU executed by NYSERDA with the City of Niagara Falls in Niagara County is in relation to an underutilized city-owned property with the site being considered for renewable solar energy development. The potential project is expected to advance the City’s efforts to promote and protect the health and safety of all residents by revitalizing residential, commercial, industrial and recreational areas for the most appropriate use of municipal land and resources.

Town of East Hampton (Suffolk County)
An MOU was also executed by NYSERDA with the Town of East Hampton, located in Suffolk Couty, in relation to 11 municipally owned sites nominated by the Town. These sites include, but are not limited to, municipal landfills and parking lots and are being considered for hosting ground-mount and canopy solar projects. These potential projects support the Town of East Hampton’s goal of achieving community-wide zero-emission energy in all sectors of the economy by 2030.

Director of Energy Management and Sustainability at Ithaca College, Scott D. Doyle said, “Ithaca College (IC) is continually seeking creative solutions to advance both its environmental and financial sustainability goals. NYSERDA’s Build-Ready Program presents us with an ideal public partner to help us spark impactful campus energy and sustainability action. IC is grateful for the opportunity to work with NYSERDA to explore the potential for solar canopy development on campus and to help us to share with the College community how this technology can help IC in its path toward carbon neutrality.”

City of Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino said, “The City is excited to be partnering with NYSERDA to explore the reuse of the underutilized City land for renewable energy. We look forward to working with NYSERDA to engage the community through a robust public outreach program in furtherance of this goal. The City hopes this project will not only revitalize this underutilized City land, but provide a significant benefit to the community.”

East Hampton Town Supervisor Kathee Burke-Gonzalez said, “This initiative has the potential to increase opportunities for solar projects supporting the Town’s commitment to the transition to renewable energy.”

Entering into these MOUs will allow NYSERDA’s Build-Ready Program to conduct further due diligence and community engagement to evaluate the prospects of multiple large-scale renewable energy projects. If there is local acceptance, strong project feasibility, and agreement to move forward between NYSERDA and each of the proposers, NYSERDA will initiate development activities including detailed engineering, interconnection, and permitting.

Interim Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, Deb Peck Kelleher said, “NYSERDA’s Build-Ready Program eliminates many of the roadblocks a renewable energy project can face, and time is of the essence to get these projects proposed, permitted, and completed if we are to meet our Climate Law goal of 70% renewable energy generation by 2030. We applaud NYSERDA for helping identify and get these complicated sites ready for private investment.”

Executive Director of the Center for Creative Land Recycling (CCLR), Jean Hamerman said, “As the leading national nonprofit promoting the beneficial reuse of environmentally contaminated and underutilized properties, CCLR is honored to support NYSERDA’s Build-Ready team. The Town of East Hampton, Ithaca College, and the City of Niagara Falls are proving that brownfields and underutilized sites can help end our reliance on fossil fuels by providing space for clean, renewable energy close to where people live, work, and learn."

Executive Director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Adrienne Esposito said, “The Build-Ready Program is an innovative and accessible way to meet our state’s climate, energy, and emission goals. Utilizing existing sites for renewable energy is tapping into a plentiful resource that has been otherwise underutilized. Exploring the feasibility of these projects in the Town of East Hampton, Ithaca College, and the City of Niagara Falls benefits those communities and sets a blueprint for a path forward for the entire state to reap the benefits of solar, EV charging, battery storage and more renewable energy infrastructure projects.”

The Build-Ready Program is currently advancing a pipeline of sites across New York State, having screened over 17,000 locations, and progressing dozens of sites through more advanced assessment and development. Local community members, elected officials, private companies, environmental justice communities, or other interested parties are encouraged to nominate potential Build-Ready sites, which will be considered on a rolling basis through the Program’s Request for Information. More information about the program’s progress and NYSERDA’s plans for actively developing an expanded pipeline of potential sites on both public and private lands across New York State can be found on NYSERDA’s website.

New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan

New York State's climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues to foster a green economy across all sectors and ensures that at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities. Guided by some of the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives, New York is advancing a suite of efforts – including the New York Cap-and-Invest program (NYCI) and other complementary policies – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels. New York is also on a path to achieving a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and economywide carbon neutrality by mid-century. A cornerstone of this transition is New York's unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $28 billion in 61 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the State, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $3.3 billion to scale up solar, nearly $3 billion for clean transportation initiatives and over $2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. These and other investments are supporting more than 170,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector as of 2022 and over 3,000 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, New York also adopted zero-emission vehicle regulations, including requiring all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold in the State be zero emission by 2035. Partnerships are continuing to advance New York’s climate action with more than 400 registered and more than 130 certified Climate Smart Communities, nearly 500 Clean Energy Communities, and the State’s largest community air monitoring initiative in 10 disadvantaged communities across the State to help target air pollution and combat climate change.


NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect the environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York State since 1975. To learn more about NYSERDA’s programs and funding opportunities, visit or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram