SUNY New Paltz unveils new, state-of-the-art solar energy system

Members of the SUNY New Paltz community joined with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, other senior state officials, and energy leaders on April 25, 2018, to cut the ceremonial ribbon on a new solar energy system, the latest addition to New Paltz’s sustainability infrastructure.

The $1.37 million project includes 217 kilowatts of photovoltaic arrays on the roofs of Elting Gymnasium and Sojourner Truth Library, and a hybrid power converter and battery storage system.

“New Yorkers know all too well the devastating impact of climate change, and we have taken bold action to slow its effects and invest in the energies of tomorrow,” said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “This renewable energy and storage project will greatly enhance the college’s resiliency in the event of an emergency while also reducing the state’s carbon footprint and saving taxpayer dollars year-round.”

[View Governor Cuomo’s full announcement of the completion of this project via this link]

The solar energy system will operate continuously and support the College’s efforts to sustainably offset reliance on the electrical power grid. The battery storage unit will be used at times of high electric demand and during emergencies or power outages to support the college’s designated emergency shelter for the campus and community at the college’s Elting Gymnasium.

“This innovative project advances New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to build a statewide energy system that is clean, resilient and affordable for all New Yorkers,” said Lt. Gov. Hochul. “Thanks to a significant investment from New York State, this project will provide great benefits to both SUNY New Paltz and the state’s electric grid.”

The unveiling of the new solar panels and battery storage system, held during the College’s Earth Week celebration, further affirms SUNY New Paltz’s reputation as one of the greenest colleges in the nation.

“We are proud of this new addition that will serve as an asset for SUNY New Paltz and the campus community for many years to come,” said President Donald P. Christian. “It’s fitting that we celebrate so close to Earth Day, as this builds upon the College’s many ongoing and successful sustainability initiatives.”

This project supports Governor Cuomo’s initiative to increase the transmission of clean and renewable energy to meet an energy storage target of 1,500 megawatts in New York State by 2025.

From planned research on this system, New York State utilities will be able to optimize the amount of renewable energy utilized on the state’s power grid, supporting the Governor’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.

“This micro grid technology is becoming increasingly important as we look to create a more robust and resilient power grid throughout New York,” said Gil C. Quiniones, president and CEO of the New York Power Authority (NYPA).

This project was led by NYPA in partnership with SUNY New Paltz. NYPA, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) are using this project to research additional technical and economic benefits of the project. The research is being done through EPRI’s Integrated Grid initiative.

“The SUNY New Paltz project is a terrific example of how clean, renewable energy can provide resiliency and help our local communities be better prepared for extreme weather events,” said Alicia Barton, president and CEO of NYSERDA. “I applaud the university for its leadership and for setting an example for other colleges and universities to follow as they play such a vital role in their own local communities.”

More than $580,000 in funding for the project came from Governor Cuomo’s BuildSmart NY program, a comprehensive statewide initiative to increase energy efficiency in public buildings. $272,000 in additional funding came from NYSERDA for the solar portion of this project through NY-Sun, Governor Cuomo’s initiative to advance the scale-up of solar and move the state closer to having a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry. $189,000 came from Central Hudson Gas & Electric. Additional costs for the project were financed by NYPA and will be repaid by the College.