State funding paves way for solar plus storage system at New York college campus

A solar energy and battery storage system was completed on The State University of New York at New Paltz campus. 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. The project supports N.Y. Governor Andrew 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.

“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,” Governor Cuomo said. “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.”

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who was present at the ribbon-cutting event, said, “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. 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.”

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Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance, Office of Governor Cuomo said, “Energy storage, especially when paired with renewable energy sources, makes up the building blocks of the Governor’s ambitious energy goals for the state. This partnership of state government entities will provide the road map to success for these rapidly emerging technologies.”

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.

The $1.37 million project will install solar panels for the 217-kilowatt project on the gym’s roof and on the roof of the nearby Sojourner Truth Library to support the battery storage system. This will allow the college to utilize stored solar power during emergencies and times of peak energy demand. NYPA implemented the renewable energy and resiliency upgrades.

More than $580,000 in funding for the project from Governor Cuomo’s BuildSmart NY program, a comprehensive statewide initiative to increase energy efficiency in public buildings. $272,000 in additional funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority 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. An additional $189,000 came from Central Hudson Gas & Electric, the college’s local utility. The additional costs for the project were financed by NYPA and will be repaid by the college.

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

— Solar Builder magazine

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