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NYPA Announces Acceleration of Plans to Help NYS School Districts Tap Into Solar Energy

 Solar array on rooftop

Lynne Smith
March 1, 2017

WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority announced today that the opportunity for school districts in New York State to “go solar” will be expedited with the selection of two additional solar power vendors. Schools can reduce their energy costs by participating in Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s K-Solar initiative, a first-of-its kind program launched in January 2014, to combat climate change by promoting renewable energy use.

“Hundreds of school districts are ready to bring solar into their communities and reduce their energy bills and we are excited to work with each and every one,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. “Making a commitment to solar energy requires no investment on a district’s part and by participating in the Governor’s innovative K-Solar program, schools are making a strong statement about the importance of renewable resources.”

To date, the K-Solar program, administered by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) in partnership with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), has registered 380 districts that are interested in participating and saving energy. All 700 public districts as well as all non-public K-12 schools in the state are eligible to participate. NYPA works with each school district and matches them with a solar developer to move ahead with installation.

Twenty-five districts have signed 48 individual power purchase agreements with K-Solar developers and are ready to proceed with solar panel installations. In the latest development, NYPA is bringing two additional developers on board to expedite the process of bringing all the schools into the pipeline. The two new developers – selected by NYPA through a competitive bidding process – will work with onboarding additional districts.  Solar Liberty will be bringing schools on-line in Western New York and the Southern Tier.

Part of Cuomo’s $1 billion NY-Sun initiative to build a sustainable solar energy industry in New York, the K-Solar program is a public-private partnership to make solar power more affordable for school districts. Schools receive the tools, technical expertise and access to financing to make “going solar” a realistic option.

“K-Solar supports Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading energy strategy by providing clean, renewable energy to local communities,” John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said. “It also teaches our children about the crucial role energy plays in their everyday lives so students and their families can make better informed energy choices.”

NYPA, which acts as an energy advisor, provides technical assistance and helps districts take full advantage of statewide incentives and high-volume pricing. The schools receive free site surveys and solar energy analysis, and pay no upfront costs for the installation of solar panels. Their only expense is for the electricity generated from the solar panels.

NYPA provides lists of registered schools to each area’s designated developer, which then conducts outreach and offers direction and their services. NYPA works with the developers regarding expectations and procedures and helps with marketing and outreach.

Any New York K-12 teacher may participate in a professional development workshop provided by NYPA. Materials and activities from these workshops assist teachers to incorporate renewable energy lessons into the classroom through science, technology, engineering and math instruction. More than 300 teachers received training in 2015 and 2016 with additional workshops scheduled in 2017 throughout the state.

“When schools go solar through the K-Solar program, everyone benefits,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “Students learn valuable lessons about science, technology and climate change – because real life experiences help make learning real for them. School districts and taxpayers save money by moving to affordable solar energy. And we all benefit from a cleaner, healthier environment.”

K-Solar is a core component of Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to build an energy system that is cleaner, more resilient and affordable. It also supports the Governor’s Clean Energy Standard that requires half of all electricity used in the state to come from renewable resources by 2030. The program also supports the goals of Governor Cuomo’s STEM learning initiatives by enhancing student awareness of energy efficient and renewable technologies, promoting student engagement in clean technology and increasing interest in career opportunities in the energy field.

To register your school district or get more information on K-Solar, email solar@nypa.gov.
About NYPA:

NYPA is the nation’s largest state public power organization, through the operation of its 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. More than 70 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. For more information visit http://www.nypa.gov/ and follow us on Twitter @NYPAenergy, Facebook, Instagram, WordPress, and LinkedIn.

About 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 generating 50 percent of the state’s electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030. Already, REV has driven 730 percent growth in the statewide solar market, enabled over 105,000 low-income households to permanently cut their energy bills with energy efficiency, 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 www.ny.gov/REV4NY and follow us at @Rev4NY.