Solar At N.Y. College Provides Half Of Power, Cuts Carbon And Teaches Clean Energy


Solar At N.Y. College Provides Half Of Power, Cuts Carbon And Teaches Clean Energy

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) have announced the completion of a 5 MW solar system, one of the largest state-supported solar projects for a New York college or university.

The solar project consists of two arrays, each providing 2.5 MW of clean energy. Construction on the project began in 2016 with the first array (Route 14 in Geneva), while the second array (Gates Road in Seneca) was completed late last year. Combined, they feature more than 15,000 solar panels.

NYSERDA says the projects support HWS’ goal of sustainable higher education. The projects will generate enough power for approximately 50% of the campuses’ electric needs and provide students with hands-on experience in clean energy learning. Thomas Drennen, professor of economics and environmental studies and chair of the Entrepreneurial Studies Program, credits students from his Natural Resources and Energy Economics class for helping to evaluate solar project proposals.

“These solar projects are part of Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ work to reduce our carbon footprint and do what is right for the environment,” says Carolee White, HWS’ vice president for finance and chief financial officer. “Along the way, we hope to realize some financial savings, but our driving force has been to uphold and advance our commitment to environmental sustainability.”

NYSERDA says the project supports New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s 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.

Alicia Barton, president and CEO of NYSERDA, says, “This project continues New York State’s momentum in supporting solar, building on Governor Cuomo’s recent announcement that we have increased statewide solar power by more than 1,000 percent. I applaud Hobart and William Smith Colleges for committing to reducing their carbon footprint while taking the opportunity to use this project as an educational tool for students who are interested in clean energy careers.”

NYSERDA-administered NY-Sun – Cuomo’s $1 billion initiative to advance the scale-up of solar and move the state closer to having a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry – provided funding for the project, along with Key Equipment Finance. Both solar arrays were developed and installed by Dynamic Energy Solutions LLC of Wayne, Pa.

“Dynamic Energy congratulates Hobart and William Smith Colleges on expanding its notable sustainability efforts with solar farms,” comments Michael Perillo, CEO of Dynamic Energy. “These initiatives set a national example of what it means to go green in higher education.”

“By using a solar tax lease, Dynamic Energy is leveraging the tax benefits and available grants to make solar energy possible for HWS,” adds 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 plans to use the solar project as a clean energy learning lab.”

Recognized for leading the way in sustainability and environmental leadership, HWS was recently included in The Princeton Review’s “Top 50 Green Colleges,” notes NYSERDA.


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