BUFFALO, N.Y. -- In its effort to promote renewable energy
technologies throughout New York State and in response to Governor
Paterson's call to expand New York's renewable energy portfolio,
the New York Power Authority today joined with the University at
Buffalo to announce a $7.5 million award to the university to
construct a 1.1 megawatt solar energy array on UB's North (Amherst)
Campus. The solar array, consisting of approximately 5,000
photovoltaic panels, will generate clean energy directly from the
sun for students living in UB's apartment complexes.
NYPA will work with UB to provide site design, engineering and
construction services for this project.
The award to UB will serve as a cornerstone of NYPA's $21
million statewide renewable energy program and will advance the UB
2020 strategic plan's focus on making the university's three
campuses great places to live, work and learn, in part by improving
their environmental sustainability.
It will be the largest solar installation on any college or
university campus in New York State and one of the largest on any
campus in the United States, according to the American Solar Energy
"This partnership between NYPA and UB exemplifies how New York
State is poised to become the leader in this new energy economy,"
said Governor David A. Paterson. "This project also demonstrates my
administration's commitment to achieving the clean energy goals of
the ambitious '45 by 15' program, which will create clean energy
jobs throughout New York State, and result in greater energy
independence and a cleaner
Richard M. Kessel, NYPA president and chief executive officer,
said "NYPA is committed to investing in Western New York, and the
University at Buffalo is the perfect partner for promoting,
developing, educating and training in photovoltaic technologies for
a cleaner environment, energy independence and green-collar
"Through this project, NYPA is making great strides in advancing
Governor Paterson's '45 by 15' initiative, which sets a date of
2015 by which New York State is to meet 45 percent of its
electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and clean
According to NYPA, UB's North Campus solar array will reduce
carbon emissions at UB by more than 500 metric tons per year.
Designed to produce 1.1 megawatts (1.1 million watts) of
electricity, the UB solar array is expected to be operating by fall
2010. It will provide power to UB's Flint, Hadley, South Lake and
Creekside Village apartments, a total of 735 apartments, housing
nearly 2,000 undergraduate and graduate UB students.
According to NYPA, the UB solar array will be specially designed
to operate in a cold weather environment and to withstand heavy
snowfall, serving as a benchmark for future systems in similar
climates. In doing so, the UB/NYPA project will promote the
development of innovative solar technologies.
As a result of this project, Western New York could become a new
center for green-collar jobs, as the UB/NYPA partnership includes
collaborations with the university and area colleges to start
training and certifying personnel in the installation of solar
UB President John B. Simpson said UB "takes great pleasure in
accepting this exciting grant from the New York Power
"This grant not only recognizes UB's long record of
environmental leadership, but it commits us to a greener, more
sustainable future that is exactly in keeping with the goals of UB
2020 and Building UB," he said.
"By helping us generate our own power on campus, this solar
array helps us take a significant step toward meeting one of the
primary goals of the American College and University Presidents
Climate Commitment, in which the university has pledged to go
'climate-neutral,'" Simpson added.
Combined with existing clean energy purchases, this project puts
UB well past the 15 percent interim renewable energy target set for
signatories of the Presidents' Climate Commitment.
Simpson noted that the project also will foster UB education and
research with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in the
area of renewable energy.
It will provide students and researchers with the opportunity to
study and track the real-time functioning of an on-site clean
energy system. The system will include a data acquisition feature
that will be especially useful in research and education.
Contrary to the conventional wisdom about Buffalo's weather,
data from the National Weather Service shows that from May through
November, Buffalo is the sunniest and driest city in the Northeast,
making it an ideal candidate for generating solar power.
The project will give many UB students the unique experience of
living in apartments where their electricity is provided not by the
burning of fossil fuels hundreds of miles away but by the clean,
renewable power of the sun here on campus with virtually no
greenhouse gas emissions, Simpson noted.
UB student Emily Bauer, member of the UB Environmental
Stewardship Committee and a delegate to the State University of New
York Student Assembly, said she and her fellow students look
forward to construction of the solar array on UB's campus.
"Climate change is one of the biggest problems facing the next
generation and is of great concern to UB students," she said. "By
stepping up as a leader in solar energy, UB has shown it is
committed to a bright future for our environment."
State Senator Antoine Thompson said the NYPA/Buffalo partnership
is a step forward for green energy in Western New York. "As Chair
of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, I have been
focused on making Buffalo an epicenter for green initiatives,"
Thompson noted. "An institution of the size of UB making the
decision to run on solar panels instead of electricity is a step in
the right direction. Conserving energy and resources in this way
benefits the environment greatly."
The new solar installation at UB will be the largest
ground-mounted PV system in New York State.
Its 5,000 panels will be installed on or adjacent to the North
Campus grounds of the Melvin H. Baker Chilled Water Plant on Flint
Road, which delivers utility services to the 1,200- acre suburban
This will be UB's second solar electric system; in 2006, UB
installed a 73.5 kilowatt demonstration solar system on top of
Norton Hall, which provides at least 6 percent of that building's