Rooftop solar array construction completed
The New York Power Authority partnered with the University of Albany to develop a 1.9 MWdc rooftop solar array project, providing long-term energy cost savings.
The University at Albany and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced the largest rooftop solar array in the State University of New York system is now operational. The 1.9 megawatts of direct current (MWdc) solar project, constructed under NYPA oversight, covers several rooftops on the campus and will bring long-term energy cost savings and sustainability benefits to the university. The project will support New York State’s goal to procure 70% of New York’s electricity from renewable energy by 2030 and to transition to a carbon-free power grid by 2040.
SUNY Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley said in a press release, “Across the system, SUNY is getting greener. Our campuses are dedicating resources and creating strategic partnerships to ensure our vast infrastructure is more environmentally sustainable and energy efficient, and UAlbany’s rooftop solar project is a powerful example of how campuses can be community leaders in renewable energy. Our thanks to the New York Power Authority for partnering with us in this effort, and to Governor Kathy Hochul for prioritizing climate solutions right here in New York State.”
“NYPA is pleased to play a role in helping University at Albany develop its largest solar installation, the largest in the SUNY system, allowing for the integration of more clean renewable energy resources,” NYPA interim president and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said. “The impressive scale of this project shows how SUNY is taking the lead when it comes to transitioning to greener technologies and systems and is an example of its continued commitment to the environment and sustainable energy sources.”
The 4,783 panels were constructed on the roof of the Life Science Research building and several roofs within the Academic Podium complex, which consists of academic and administrative buildings around a large open courtyard with two fountains. The installation is the largest rooftop solar PV project in the 64-campus State University of New York system and is part of a larger plan UAlbany is implementing to reduce its energy and carbon footprint.
“Bringing nearly 4,800 solar panels online is a critical step toward the University at Albany’s goal of net zero carbon emissions,” said UAlbany President Havidán Rodriguez. “This project is an integral part of the University’s Climate Action Plan—and of our commitment to be a national model for campus sustainability.”
The systems, which were developed with the Power Authority’s energy advisory services, will supply 60% of the estimated electricity used by the ETEC building, designed as a hub for innovation, scholarship, applied research and commercial development. The solar installation will help the structure achieve LEED-Platinum certification, the highest LEED rating for sustainable design. Several other campus buildings have already received LEED certification, including the Platinum designation.
The project supports the SUNY Clean Energy Roadmap—announced in 2019 by SUNY in partnership with New York State’s energy agencies—to reach the university’s goal of reducing its carbon footprint 40% by 2030 and accelerate progress toward the State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) mandate to generate 70% of the state’s electricity from renewables by 2030 as part of a resilient and equitable transition to a clean energy economy.
The UAlbany project, through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s NY-Sun program, received incentives to support the implementation of a successful clean energy project that benefits the campus. Hochul announced earlier this month the State Public Service Commission approved a new framework for the state to achieve at least 10 gigawatts of distributed solar by 2030 and determined extending the NY-Sun initiative was the most efficient and cost-effective path forward.
Being net metered, the system allows UAlbany to significantly reduce its carbon footprint by decreasing its use of utility delivered energy and purchasing renewable energy credits, helping the school meet its solar energy goals.