Sun, Surf and Clean Energy at Coney Island

Coney Island, known for its beach, boardwalk, and sunny skies, is now home to an advanced solar thermal array that provides clean, green energy to New York City Transit's Coney Island Maintenance Facility, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering the MTA's energy bill.

The solar thermal system consists of 48 panels mounted on the building's roof. Unlike photovoltaic panels that generate electricity from the sun's energy, these thermal panels capture the radiant heat from the sun, heating water stored in the panels up to 240°F. The water is then mixed with cooler water and used for washing subway trains during their scheduled maintenance.

Because a portion of the maintenance facility's energy needs will now be met directly by the sun, the MTA expects to save $94,000 per year in its utility bill. Helping the environment's bottom line, the solar array will enable the MTA to avoid emitting 86 tons of greenhouse gases each year, which is roughly the equivalent of taking 14 cars off the road.

The New York Power Authority paid for the array's $550,000 installation cost, with the help of a $150,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

"The MTA and its agencies are working hard to make sure that every dollar we receive is used wisely, and that applies to our energy bill as well," said Thomas F. Prendergast, President of MTA New York City Transit. "I want to thank the New York Power Authority and NYSERDA for helping MTA New York City Transit save money and go even greener."

This project is just one of 85 similar energy projects that the MTA and NYPA have jointly undertaken to allow the MTA to avoid emitting 34,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. To find out more, visit

Employing 1,200 people and active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the Coney Island shop is the largest transit maintenance facility in the country. It is one of two facilities where heavy-duty maintenance on New York City subway trains is performed. (The other is 207th Street in northern Manhattan.)

The Coney Island Maintenance Facility will retain its older electric hot-water heater as a backup for extended periods of cloudy days.