Amazon warehouse is NYC’s most expensive single-building solar panel filing ever

Matrix Development Group filed plans valued at $7.35 million to put solar panels on Amazon's warehouse at 546 Gulf Avenue (Credit: Google)

Application is part of trend seeing photovoltaic cell permits up by nearly 165% in five years

Five contractors dominate the field with nearly 50% of business

By Adam Pincus

A New Jersey developer filed plans this week for the city’s most expensive single-building solar project ever, a review of city Department of Buildings filings found. If permitted, the $7.35 million project would cover the roof on the gigantic new Amazon warehouse building at 546 Gulf Avenue in the Bloomfield neighborhood of Staten Island.

The filing is part of a surge in solar in the city, where the value of permits issued grew by 165 percent from 2014 to 2018, according to an analysis by PincusCo Media.

And like most segments of the New York City real estate and development market, the business is concentrated in the hands of a few companies, the review discovered. The top firms over the past five years were California-based SunRun, with $109 million in permitted work, followed by Brooklyn-based Venture Solar with $86 million and New Jersey-based Amergy Solar, with $48 million.

In fourth place was California-based 1st Light Energy with $46 million. Rounding out the top five was New Jersey-based Momentum Solar with $42 million, the review found.

PincusCo Media reviewed DOB alteration filings only, and included only those that had the word “solar” in the application. New building permits were not included. The dollar value is the “initial cost” as reported on DOB permit applications.

The total value of permits issued jumped from $78 million in 2014 to $206 million in 2018.

Source: NYC Dept. of Buildings permits and permit applications from 2014 to Feb. 26, 2019

Amazon has leased the entire two-story building at 546 Gulf Avenue, which has a ground-floor footprint of 858,153 square feet. The building received its initial certificate of occupancy in August 2018.

To put the floor plate — and roof size — at 546 Gulf Avenue into context, it’s about the size of four Midtown Manhattan blocks, which are typically 1,000 feet long by 200 feet wide. The Gulf Avenue building is 570 feet wide by 1,500 feet long, DOB filings show.

The warehouse is part of New Jersey-based Matrix Development Group’s Matrix Global Logistics Park, which has two other buildings under construction.

While the $7.35 million is the largest single filing, there have been more expensive filings covering multiple buildings. For example, at Stuyvesant Town, owner Blackstone Group filed for permits to cover 56 buildings within the complex with 10,000 photovoltaic cells, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The total filing was value of $11.6 million, a review of the DOB permits found. The contractor on that project was Brooklyn-based Solar Energy Systems.