BUFFALO, NY -- In celebration of Earth Day, University at
Buffalo (UB) President Satish K. Tripathi and New York Power
Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Gil C.
Quiniones were joined by New York State and local officials,
business organizations, environmental advocates and Western New
York companies to mark the energizing of the UB Solar Strand, which
will meet the electricity needs of hundreds of student apartments,
cut energy costs and reduce the university's carbon footprint.
The energizing of the Solar Strand follows the launching last
week by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of his NY-Sun Initiative for bringing
together and expanding multiple solar power incentive programs for
spurring the growth of the state's solar economy and quadrupling
annual development of solar power in New York State by 2013, to
make New York State a leader in the clean energy economy.
The 3,200-panel photovoltaic array stands at the main entrance
to UB's North Campus and provides a striking but practical campus
gateway. The 750-kilowatt Solar Strand will generate enough clean,
renewable power to help avoid the emission of nearly 400 tons of
harmful greenhouse gases every year. It will serve as a natural
classroom for UB students and for kindergarten through high school
Watch a video about the Solar Strand project: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USsg-Ee9mPk.
A fact sheet about the Solar Strand is available here: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/13374.
"The Solar Strand is a powerful demonstration of how creative
partnerships between universities, the New York Power Authority and
our elected leadership are helping to advance sustainable solutions
for our region and state," said UB President Satish K. Tripathi.
"As one of the largest ground-mounted photovoltaic arrays in New
York State, the Solar Strand is a focal point for sustainable
education and research. It's a resource not only for the
university, but for the public, who will be able to learn, teach,
work and discover in this new space."
"The completion of the Solar Strand underscores the success of
our partnership with the University at Buffalo to support
sustainability initiatives, as well as the Power Authority's
dedication to the advancement of clean energy technology and the
priority we place on teaming with local companies on such
innovative initiatives to spur the Western New York economy," said
NYPA President Gil C. Quiniones. "The Power Authority is dedicated
to advancing Gov. Cuomo's aggressive and far-reaching NY-Sun
Initiative through our funding of innovative solar technology
research, training and demonstration projects and cost-reduction
strategies to improve solar affordability for residents and
businesses and bring to the fore this emerging technology."
Quiniones noted that the energizing of the UB Solar Strand
project immediately following the launching of the Governor's
NY-Sun Initiative underscores the state's momentum in achieving the
exponential growth of solar power. The Solar Strand also represents
a cornerstone of NYPA's Renewable Energy Program to help create a
pathway to commercialization of emerging renewable energy
technologies by providing incentives to promote the demonstration
and validation of new technologies. Under the renewable energy
program, NYPA provided more than $7 million in project funding for
the Solar Strand as well as engineering and management oversight
for the project's construction and installation.
This project also demonstrates UB's commitment to environmental
stewardship under the UB 2020 strategic plan and Building UB: The
Comprehensive Physical Plan. This plan guides development of
facilities to support the growth of research in the university's
strategic strengths and to improve the student experience in
classrooms, labs, libraries, dining halls, dormitories and
recreational facilities and will make UB campuses great places that
people can truly enjoy and appreciate.
In support of the revitalization of the Western New York economy
and encouraging the growth of the region and state's clean energy
economy, the NYPA Board of Trustees, in approving the project
award, signaled that the engagement of local businesses should be a
priority. DeCloet Greenhouse Manufacturing, which ultimately won
the project award, partnered with such local companies as Solar
Liberty of Williamsville, Community Steel Corporation of Buffalo,
Ed Strickland Welding and Fabricating of Clarence and Hausrath's
Landscaping Maintenance Inc. of Buffalo to complete this project.
In the end, nearly 40 New York State -based companies, employing
hundreds of local residents, contributed to the successful
realization of the visually striking and energy-saving UB Solar
"It is thrilling to witness the completion and energizing of
this solar strand, which demonstrates not only how clean energy
initiatives can help reduce energy costs to public institutions,
but how these projects can help support and revitalize the local
economy," said D. Patrick Curley, a NYPA trustee and resident of
Orchard Park. "The Power Authority is proud of its long history of
leadership in clean energy technology advancement and will continue
to find ways to link these initiatives with Gov. Cuomo's efforts to
improve and expand the state economy."
The project's significance, however, is not only in the energy
it produces. It will actively engage the community in thinking
about sustainability and will promote discussion about the future
of green energy in New York State and nationwide.
"Our goal was to deliver the most efficient power-generating
system we could, and create an iconic entrance to the campus," said
Robert G. Shibley, dean of the UB School of Architecture and
Planning and chair of the UB Environmental Stewardship Committee.
"We accomplished that and more: the idea that you could scale up
something that delivers 750,000 watts of power and have it also be
art makes this project unique."
The Solar Strand, designed by Walter Hood, a renowned landscape
artist, comprises groups of solar panels extending in three rows
for a quarter mile along Flint Road. The linear formation evokes
the pattern of a DNA fingerprint, particularly when observed from a
bird's-eye view. Walkways that weave between the panels, which will
open in August, will give the public a chance to enjoy the site.
The array's tallest groupings of solar panels will shelter three
outdoor "social rooms" where people can gather.
"Thinking about how we inhabit this place -- Earth -- we have to
start thinking about these alternative energies, and how they can
actually be part of our lives," Hood said.
Though the Solar Strand is now operational, volunteers and
workers still need to complete finishing touches. UB students will
provide assistance on May 1, planting more shrubbery, spreading the
concrete and raking the site. The beauty of the landscape design
will emerge in years to come as trees adorning the area grow taller
and fuller, and birds and other wildlife begin to visit.
"Students like the fact that UB is making strides to become a
better, more environmentally friendly university," said UB student
Shivani Kamodia, who is majoring in human health and environmental
sciences. "There is so much going on at UB to make the campus more
The installation is part of a green building boom underway at
UB. The university is in the midst of opening six new LEED-designed
facilities in a two-year span, starting with William R. Greiner
Hall in August 2011. (LEED, short for Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design, is the U.S. Green Building Council's
The partnership between UB and NYPA on clean energy matters
dates back many years. Together, the two institutions have
completed seven projects totaling $43 million since 2004. The most
recent projects include chillers, campus submetering and lighting
at the South Campus and heating systems and HVAC controls at the
Ellicott Complex on the North Campus. These projects will save the
university over $1.3 million in annual energy costs and avoid the
emission of nearly 8,000 tons of greenhouse gases.
'SOLAR STRAND' -- STATEMENTS IN SUPPORT
"The Solar Strand -- a new gateway to the North Campus -- is a
sustainable, cost-saving project for the University at Buffalo and
the entire community. For UB students and school students in the
area, it will serve as another classroom to learn and grow. For the
community, it will serve as a way to enhance the quality of life
for all residents by avoiding 400 tons of harmful greenhouse gases
every year. I commend the University at Buffalo, the New York Power
Authority and the local companies involved on this project, as well
as all of their workers, on a job well done," said New York State
Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer.
"The Solar Strand is an example of creative ingenuity that can
save money and lower the carbon footprint," New York State
Assemblyman Dennis H. Gabryszak said. "Finding new avenues for
renewable energy is important and I applaud the University at
Buffalo and NYPA for their collaboration on this project."
"I'm thrilled to see the University at Buffalo using green
energy," said New York State Assemblyman John D. Ceretto. "The use
of this clean, efficient domestic energy source shows that the
University at Buffalo is on the cutting edge of new energy uses. We
need to continue to strive to use cleaner energy, produced in the
"I am excited to participate in the energizing of the 750-
kilowatt UB Solar Strand as we continue to harness the sun for our
energy needs in New York State. Solar power is a clean,
cost-effective alternative that saves money and decreases the
carbon footprint. As the chair of the New York State Senate's
Environmental Conservation Committee, I will continue to endorse
new solar programs that seek to actively engage the community in
discussions about emerging renewable energy technologies and the
future of green energy in New York State. A project like this
benefits the UB students, the community at large and, through
construction jobs, the Western New York economy," said New York
State Senator Mark Grisanti.