Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

May 02, 2018

Randy Simons | Dan Keefe
(518) 486-1868 |

New York State Parks Announces Governor Clean Energy Standard Leading State Parks to Energy Neutrality

5 State Parks to be Energy Neutral by 2019, Robert Moses is Already First Energy Neutral State Park of its Size in the Nation

Clean Lighting and Photovoltaic Solar Arrays Save State Parks Nearly $1m Annually in Energy Costs

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) today announced that New York State parks are drastically reducing electricity costs and greenhouse gas emissions through solar and clean lighting initiatives. Since 2013, 18 state parks have installed photovoltaic systems and have replaced the less preferred traditional and conventional lighting with environmentally friendly LED lighting leading to an overall savings of nearly $1 million annually. The solar and clean lightning initiatives support Governor Cuomo's Clean Energy Standard, requiring 50 percent of the State's electricity come from renewable sources by 2030 as well as the Governor's 40 percent emission reduction by 2030.

"Powering state parks entirely with solar energy and clean lighting is a strong statement of our commitment to make our State Parks sustainable and efficient," said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. "Thanks to the leadership of Governor Cuomo, the state park system is making great strides to tap these clean energies to make our parks even greener and to modernize our facilities across New York."

Today State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey made the clean energy announcement atop the Historic Bleachery, listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places, at Peebles Island State Park in Saratoga County. Home to the State Historic Preservation Office Headquarters the facility serves as a prime example of the coexistence between modern renewable energy technology and historic places. Combined, the new 450-panel solar array and clean lighting installation inside parts of the building has reduced costs at the park by nearly 40%.

Across the entire system clean lighting through LED conversion reduces state park energy costs by more than $711,000 annually. LED lighting offers longer operational life expectancy, are eco-friendly as they are free of toxic chemicals often found in conventional lighting, more durable and able to withstand significant temperature fluctuations and frequent use without affecting its lifetime emission.

Since 2013, 18 photovoltaic solar arrays have been installed at state parks reducing energy costs by an additional $240,000 annually. More than 80 State Parks employees have completed specialized solar power training and installed many of the arrays with some work supplemented by members of the Excelsior Conservation Corps.

Under this initiative Robert Moses State Park became the first state park of its size in the nation to become energy neutral in 2017. Since then Captree State Park on Long Island has reached energy neutrality and three more parks are expected to be added to the list by 2018-19. The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is assisting NYS Parks on the development and implementation of these projects. Energy Neutrality is reached when the total amount of energy used by a state park is equal or less than the amount of renewable energy created within the state park.

The newest and expected energy neutral state parks include:

Robert Moses and Captree State Parks, Suffolk County

Through an agreement with PSEG Long Island, the photovoltaic (PV) project is the largest solar array installed on state property and made Robert Moses and Captree the first State Parks of their size in the nation to be electric energy-neutral. The installation will generate enough electricity each year thereby eliminating the park's electric energy bills. The New York Power Authority provided $300,000 in funding and advisory services regarding the interconnection of the solar system to the power grid. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority provided $51,255 through the NY-Sun initiative. The 2,432-panel PV system was mounted on 304 poles at the rear of the Fields 4 parking lot.

Allan Treman State Park, Tompkins County

The 96-panel installation by state park employees will be complete this year making this Southern Tier hidden gem energy neutral.

Darien Lakes State Park, Genesee County

This popular camping destination along Harlow Lake will achieve energy neutral status when a $300,000 solar array installation is complete in 2018-19.

Dennings Point, Dutchess County

The 64-acre peninsula, popular hiking spot on the Hudson River at the mouth of Fishkill Creek, will make this expansion of the Hudson Highlands energy neutral once a rehabilitation project featuring trail work and a public gathering space is complete.

In addition, significant state park energy costs have been drastically reduced through solar array installations at Peebles Island State Park (installation atop a building currently on the State and National Register of Historic Places) in Saratoga County, Grafton Lake State Park (approaching energy neutrality) in Rensselaer County, Lake Taghkanic State Park in Columbia County, Niagara Falls State Park in Niagara County, Letchworth State Park in Wyoming and Livingston Counties, Keewaydin State Park in Jefferson County, Thacher State Park in Albany County.

"New York's parks serve as regional jewels located among our local communities throughout the state, and visitors flock to them from far and away seeking their natural beauty," said Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA. "The preservation of our natural resources through the use of clean energy technologies underscores Governor Cuomo's commitment to ensuring the economic and environmental value derived from these technologies, like solar, can work hand-in-hand to the benefit of all New Yorkers."

"Robert Moses led the way in becoming the nation's first energy-neutral State Park," said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. "And now New York State Parks is making renewable energy a top priority at more parks all across the state. The New York Power Authority is proud to be a partner in this effort to use clean energy to power our parks. We are pleased to be working together with State Parks to add additional solar arrays at additional locations on Long Island and in the Lower Hudson Valley. Our State Parks are one of our greatest assets here in New York State, and we are thrilled to see our public parks set the trend in being carbon neutral and energy efficient."

The solar projects are also a part of the Governor's NY Parks 2020 to modernize and transform the New York State park system. NY Parks 2020 is a multi-year commitment to leverage a broad range of private and public funding to invest approximately $900 million in State Parks from 2011 to 2020. Additional parks throughout the State system will also be employing this technology in the coming years with NYPA consulting on design, construction, and projected energy savings of those projects.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 individual state parks, historic sites, golf courses, boat launches and recreational trails, which are visited by 71 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on Instagram and Twitter.