Release Date: April 23, 2012
On Monday, April 23, 2012, the University at Buffalo and New York Power Authority dedicated and activated the UB Solar Strand.
Size: The Solar Strand comprises 3,200 photovoltaic panels. The installation is 140 feet wide and 1,250 feet long (about a quarter of a mile).
Capacity for energy production: The Solar Strand has a rated capacity of 750 kilowatts -- enough energy to power hundreds of student apartments. The Solar Strand will save more than $60,000 in annual electricity costs and will result in the avoidance of nearly 400 tons of greenhouse gases each year.
Purpose: The Solar Strand produces carbon-free energy for UB. It is the new gateway to UB's North Campus and will serve as a natural classroom for both UB and K-12 students.
Objective: The Solar Strand not only provides power, but is also a demonstration project intended to test and advance development of solar technologies in New York State and beyond for years to come.
DNA Strand Design: The Solar Strand's panels extend in three rows for a quarter mile along Flint Road. The linear formation resembles the pattern of a DNA fingerprint, particularly when observed from a bird's-eye view.
NYPA and UB Partnership: UB and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced plans for a solar array on UB's North Campus in 2009. The project, funded by NYPA, was proposed in conjunction with NYPA's effort to promote renewable energy technologies throughout New York State. The Solar Strand aligns with UB's commitment to environmental stewardship, as outlined by the UB 2020 strategic plan and "Building UB: The Comprehensive Physical Plan," a master plan for UB's three campuses.
Designer: Walter Hood of Oakland, Calif., is a renowned landscape architect. He was selected from three finalists in an international public art competition held by UB. Hood is founding principal of Hood Design and a professor and former chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2009, his firm received the prestigious Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Landscape Design.
Cost: The Solar Strand was funded by $7 million from the New York Power Authority.
Western New York Economic Impact: More than 40 regional contractors contributed to the project, which supported hundreds of local jobs.