Key Equipment Finance sale-leaseback financing of $5.1 million funds Hobart and William Smith Colleges solar farm

new york college solar farm

Key Equipment Finance, one of the nation’s largest bank-held equipment finance companies and an affiliate of KeyCorp, provided $5.1 million in financing to Wayne, PA.-based Dynamic Energy Solutions, LLC for a 2.55 MWdc solar farm near Geneva, N.Y. producing energy for Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS).

Dynamic Energy used sale-leaseback financing for the project, which includes a Power Purchase Agreement and allows monetization of the tax benefits, inclusive of the investment tax credit and depreciation. In this solar tax lease structure, Dynamic Energy owns and operates the system and sells the power to HWS. Dynamic Energy is a full-service solar energy provider with an in-house team of professional engineers, project managers and master electricians.

“By using a solar tax lease, Dynamic Energy is leveraging the tax benefits and available grants to make solar energy possible for HWS,” said Doug Beebe, vice president of energy finance for Key Equipment Finance’s Energy Solutions team, which provides leases tailored to the energy market. “The students who benefit from the energy produced by this solar farm may also learn about the important role financing plays in making these sustainable practices a reality, since HWS uses the solar project as a clean energy learning lab.”

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HWS leases the land off Gates Road in the Town of Seneca for the 10-acre solar farm, which was completed in 2017 and features 7,800 solar panels. The project is being combined with a second solar farm completed in 2016 to generate about 5 megawatts of electricity, which provides about 50% of the educational institution’s electric needs.

The combined solar farms represent one of the largest state-supported solar installations for a New York college or university.

“These sites are not only generating a significant amount of the colleges’ electricity,” said Thomas Drennen, professor of economics and environmental studies and chair of the entrepreneurial studies program at HWS, “but will also provide experiential learning and curricular opportunities for HWS students.”

The project was supported by a grant from the New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), a statewide solar incentive program under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to increase the number of solar electric systems across the state and meet the mandate for half of the state’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2030. It also complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s economic blueprint aimed at attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation.

— Solar Builder magazine

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