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Governor Cuomo Announces Completion of Solar Generation and Energy Storage System at SUNY New Paltz


April 25, 2018

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the completion of a cutting-edge, solar energy and battery storage system on The State University of New York at New Paltz campus. The system provides continuous solar photovoltaic power generation and supports the college’s efforts to sustainably offset its reliance on the electrical power grid. The corresponding battery storage unit will be used at times of high electric demand and during emergencies or power outages to support the college’s designated emergency shelter for the campus and community at the college’s Elting Gymnasium. The project supports Governor Cuomo’s initiative to increase the transmission of clean and renewable energy to meet an energy storage target of 1,500 megawatts in New York State by 2025.

“New Yorkers know all too well the devastating impact of climate change, and we have taken bold action to slow its effects and invest in the energies of tomorrow,” Governor Cuomo said. “This renewable energy and storage project will greatly enhance the college’s resiliency in the event of an emergency while also reducing the state’s carbon footprint and saving taxpayer dollars year-round.”

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who was present at the ribbon-cutting event, said, “This innovative project advances New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to build a statewide energy system that is clean, resilient and affordable for all New Yorkers. Thanks to a significant investment from New York State, this project will provide great benefits to both SUNY New Paltz and the state’s electric grid.”

Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance, Office of Governor Cuomo said, “Energy storage, especially when paired with renewable energy sources, makes up the building blocks of the Governor’s ambitious energy goals for the state. This partnership of state government entities will provide the road map to success for these rapidly emerging technologies.”

From planned research on this system, New York State utilities will be able to optimize the amount of renewable energy utilized on the state’s power grid, supporting the Governor’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.

The $1.37 million project will install solar panels for the 217-kilowatt project on the gym’s roof and on the roof of the nearby Sojourner Truth Library to support the battery storage system. This will allow the college to utilize stored solar power during emergencies and times of peak energy demand. NYPA implemented the renewable energy and resiliency upgrades.

More than $580,000 in funding for the project from Governor Cuomo’s BuildSmart NY program, a comprehensive statewide initiative to increase energy efficiency in public buildings. $272,000 in additional funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for the solar portion of this project through NY-Sun, Governor Cuomo’s initiative to advance the scale-up of solar and move the state closer to having a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry. An additional $189,000 came from Central Hudson Gas & Electric, the college’s local utility. The additional costs for the project were financed by NYPA and will be repaid by the college.

This project was led by NYPA in partnership with SUNY New Paltz. NYPA, NYSERDA and the Electric Power Research Institute are utilizing this project to research additional technical and economic benefits of the project. The research is being done through EPRI’s Integrated Grid initiative.

Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA President and CEO said, “This project at SUNY New Paltz includes both renewable generation and energy storage capabilities, enabling the school to power its emergency shelter with clean electricity in the case of a blackout on the state’s electric grid. This microgrid technology is becoming increasingly important as we look to create a more robust and resilient power grid throughout New York.”

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, “The SUNY New Paltz project is a terrific example of how clean, renewable energy can provide resiliency and help our local communities be better prepared for extreme weather events. I applaud the university for its leadership and for setting an example for other colleges and universities to follow as they play such a vital role in their own local communities.”

SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said, “Our thanks to Governor Cuomo for helping make the solar generation and energy storage system at SUNY New Paltz a reality, and for his support as the SUNY system of 64 campuses boosts its sustainability through zero-net carbon sources, including renewables and energy storage. Through our partnerships with the New York Power Authority and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, we are mitigating the effects of catastrophic man-made climate change.”

SUNY New Paltz President Donald P. Christian said, “This project builds upon the college’s many ongoing and successful sustainability initiatives, including through solar-power generation. We are grateful for the Governor’s leadership that makes projects like this possible, and the collaborative effort and funding support from partner agencies and organizations.”

Senator Joe Griffo, Energy Committee Chair, said, “As chair of the New York State Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, and in honor of Earth Day, I want to congratulate the New York Power Authority and SUNY New Paltz for their joint efforts in completing a cutting edge solar energy and battery storage system at the New Paltz campus. This brand new energy system will increase the amount of renewable energy used on our power grid and will provide resiliency and energy efficiency for SUNY New Paltz. This type of project is a welcome addition to our state’s portfolio of innovative energy systems in public buildings and I am looking forward to more of these cutting edge clean energy applications in the future.”

Senator John J. Bonacic said, “SUNY New Paltz has been a leader in developing new and alternative energy systems to help cut greenhouse gases, and this $1.37 million project will continue the University’s strong work in this area.”

Assemblyman Mike Cusick, Energy Committee Chair, said. “The completion of a solar energy and battery storage system on the State University of New York SUNY at New Paltz campus will create for a more energy efficient school and will ensure that a prolonged outage won’t occur if the grid is not available. It is great to see our state institutions taking charge to change in altering their power structures to meet the Governor’s goals of the leading energy efficient State.”

Assemblyman Kevin Cahill said, “As with the first generation of renewable energy, hydroelectric, the New York Power Authority, is at the forefront of advancing responsible solar PV in our state. If we are to achieve the ambitious goals of energy independence and an end to the reliance on polluting carbon-based fuels, we must lead by example. That is exactly what SUNY New Paltz is doing with able assists by NYPA, NYSERDA and local utilities. Once again, SUNY New Paltz and these worthy organizations are not just ‘talking the talk’ but are indeed ‘walking the walk.”

Ulster County Executive Michael P. Hein said, “We are tremendously excited for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s completion of a solar generation and energy storage system at SUNY New Paltz. Embracing green infrastructure has quickly become a tradition in Ulster County and we applaud this forward thinking and environmentally responsible approach. As a community we have the duty and responsibility to leave the environment in a better place than we found it.”

Village of New Paltz Mayor Tim Rogers said, “We are pleased to be the site of this pioneering solar and energy storage project at SUNY New Paltz. Once again New Paltz is innovating and setting an example for other communities by grasping new renewable energy technologies. This system also allows us to lead the way in resiliency and our community members can rest assured they have a safe shelter on campus during an emergency.”

Town Supervisor of New Paltz Neil Bettez said, “This is an important solar and battery storage initiative, combining renewable energy, resiliency and research to improve the state’s power grid. I commend the Governor, SUNY New Paltz, NYPA, and the other entities that partnered to complete this project. This project is perfect for the Governor’s long term vision to provide alternative energy to New York state.”

Michael L. Mosher, President and CEO of Central Hudson said, “Central Hudson is pleased to support this innovative project to advance technologies that promote reliability and sustainability. The initiative brings together local, state and national partners to test the latest methods of optimizing storage paired with solar in order to increase resiliency from expanded sources of renewable energy.”

Dr. Aminul Huque, Principal Project Manager at Electric Power Research Institute said, “This solar photovoltaic and energy storage project at SUNY New Paltz will provide opportunities to demonstrate the benefits of distributed energy resources. Advanced grid support functionalities of smart inverters and energy storage systems are critical to reliably operate the power system with higher penetration of variable generation resources like PV.”solar

 Launched by Governor Cuomo in 2012, calls for an increase in energy efficiency in state government buildings by 20 percent by 2020. Through 2017, state buildings have thus far reduced their energy use by more than 11 percent under the program, resulting in an estimated $45 million in avoided energy costs and 222,000 tons of avoided greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 alone. In addition, energy efficiency and renewable projects currently being developed and installed will lead to a further reduction in energy use in state buildings by an estimated 5.3 percent, resulting in a collective 16.4 percent reduction from the baseline year.

Reforming the Energy Vision
Reforming the Energy Vision is Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s strategy to lead on climate change and grow New York’s economy. REV is building a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers by stimulating investment in clean technologies like solar, wind, and energy efficiency and requiring 50 percent of the state’s electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030. Already, REV has driven growth of more than 1,000 percent in the statewide solar market, improved energy affordability for 1.65 million low-income customers, and created thousands of jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and other clean tech sectors. REV is ensuring New York reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and achieves the internationally recognized target of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050. To learn more about REV, including the Governor’s $5 billion investment in clean energy technology and innovation, visit rev.ny.gov, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.