SUNY New Paltz Facilities Operations staff worked alongside local contractors this month to add new solar panels outside the Louis and Mildred Resnick Engineering Hall.
The new system will generate just under three kilowatts (kW) of power. Combined with other solar panel installations on campus, including the large system installed on the roof of the Athletic and Wellness Center, this increases the College’s solar power output to approximately 70 kW, as New Paltz continues its efforts to derive a greater percentage of overall energy usage from renewable sources.
“Solar power production is built into our Campus Sustainability Plan, and it gets great support from administrators here,” said Brian Pine, energy management coordinator for the College. “Expanding our solar footprint helps the resiliency of our localized grid and helps hedge against energy market escalation, which will better position the College to manage and plan for long-term energy expenses.”
The new installation follows the Resnick Roof Solar Panel Project, a 2012 initiative to mount solar panels on the roof of Resnick Engineering Hall as a way of educating science and engineering students about photovoltaic systems. Not all panels obtained at that time could be installed, so this new project was developed to make use of those that remained and to continue drawing attention to energy issues.
“These smaller panels will not produce as much energy as our rooftop systems, but their location and visibility should serve to raise awareness and goodwill for sustainable energy production,” Pine said. “We want to increase solar power production, but we also want to situate renewable energy in a way that lets the campus community see and feel it. Hopefully, seeing these panels will stimulate thought and wonder about what we’re doing and what’s possible.”
Installation costs were offset by a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), a public benefit corporation with the objective of advancing energy innovations that improve the state environment and its economy.
More information about sustainability initiatives is available at the Office of Campus Sustainability website.