Geneva, NY & Seneca, NY The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) have completed a 5-megawatt solar system, one of the largest state-supported solar projects for a New York college or university. The project supports governor Andrew Cuomo’s mandate for half of the state’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2030, and 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, NYSERDA said, “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%. 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.”
“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,” said vice president for finance and COO Carolee White. “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.”
The 5-megawatt solar project consists of two solar arrays, each providing 2.5 megawatts of clean energy. Construction on the project began in 2016 with the first array (Rte. 14 in Geneva), while the second array (Gates Rd. in Seneca) was completed late last year. Combined, they feature more than 15,000 solar panels and will support the colleges’ goal of sustainable higher education by both, generating enough power for 50% of the campuses’ electric needs, and by providing 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.
Both solar arrays were developed and installed by Dynamic Energy Solutions, LLC, of Wayne, Pennsylvania. Key Equipment Finance, one of the largest bank-based equipment finance providers in the country, provided funding for the Gates Rd. project. Since 2011, solar in the state has increased more than 1,000% and leveraged more than $2.8 billion in private investments. There are more than 12,000 people engaged in solar jobs across the state.
NY-Sun, governor 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. NYSERDA administers NY-Sun.
“Dynamic Energy congratulates Hobart and William Smith Colleges on expanding its notable sustainability efforts with solar farms,” said 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,” 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 plans to use the solar project as a clean energy learning lab.”
Recognized for leading the way in sustainability and environmental leadership, Hobart and William Smith were recently included in The Princeton Review’s “Top 50 Green Colleges.” In addition, HWS has been named among higher education’s top leaders in campus sustainability, according to Sierra magazine’s 2017 “Cool Schools” ranking.