The New York Power Authority and the State University of New York at New Paltz will partner to build a solar-energy storage system on campus to offset the school's reliance on the electric grid.
The system will provide solar-power generation and employ a hybrid power converter and backup generator that would supply power in case of an outage at the Elting Gymnasium, which serves as an emergency shelter on campus.
Most of the solar panels for the 217-kilowatt project will be installed on the gym’s roof. The remainder will go on the roof of the nearby Sojourner Truth Library. A battery storage system, located in the gym’s basement, will be supported by the solar arrays, allowing the school to utilize stored solar power during emergencies and times of peak demand for the university.
The Power Authority is implementing the project and providing more than $580,000 in funding. The project is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
"The Power Authority is proud to be a partner on this critically important project," said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. "The energy generated by these solar panels can be stored for impactful use at times of high electric demand on campus and during an emergency, allowing for increased flexibility and resiliency of the state’s electric grid."
The $1.37 million project is part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s BuildSmart NY program, a comprehensive statewide initiative to increase energy efficiency in public buildings. BuildSmart NY is a key component of the Governor’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to build a cleaner, more affordable and resilient energy system that supports the State’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and ensuring that half of all energy used in the state comes from renewable sources by 2030.
"This project builds upon the college’s many ongoing and successful campus sustainability initiatives, including through solar-power generation," said SUNY New Paltz President Donald P. Christian. "We appreciate greatly both the Governor’s recognition of how SUNY New Paltz aligns well with BuildSmart NY, and the decision to award funds for additional solar panels and a battery storage system."
The project received an additional $271,720 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and $210,000 from Central Hudson Gas & Electric, the local utility. The additional costs will be financed by NYPA and repaid by the college through the expected energy savings.
NYSERDA President and CEO John B. Rhodes said, "Combining solar energy and a battery storage system has the potential to make a huge impact on our energy use. Adding renewables and resilience to the State’s electric grid is a critical component of Governor Cuomo’s energy vision and we are proud to be a partner in this project."
"Central Hudson is pleased to support this this innovative project that not only benefits a key customer, but also advances technologies that promote reliability, resilience and sustainability," said Michael L. Mosher, President and Chief Executive Officer of Central Hudson. "This project also provides an opportunity to test the ability of smart inverters and battery storage to support grid functions, for the benefit of all customers."
In addition to this project, NYPA, NYSERDA and the Electric Power Research Institute are funding research to identify additional technical and economic benefits of the project. The research is being done through EPRI’s Integrated Grid initiative and directly supports the REV strategy.
"This project gives a glimpse of the grid of the future," said Mark McGranaghan, vice president of power delivery & utilization at EPRI. "One-day installations like this will be common elements of the grid, providing benefits of resiliency and optimizing overall energy use and grid performance."
NYPA is partnering with SUNY schools across on other energy-efficiency upgrades that, when completed, will save more than 21,000 megawatt hours of electricity and nearly 49,000 gallons of fuel a year and eliminate roughly 17,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. (One megawatt hour is equivalent to the amount of electricity used by about 330 homes in an hour.)
BuildSmart NY, which was launched in 2012, calls for an increase in energy efficiency in state government buildings by 20 percent by 2020.