New York Power Authority and UB to Partner in
Major Solar Energy Project to Power Student Apartments
716-645-5000, ext. 1415
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May 7, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BUFFALO—In its effort to promote renewable energy
technologies throughout New York State and in response to Governor
Paterson’s call to expand New York’s renewable energy portfolio, the
New York Power Authority (NYPA) today joined with the University at
Buffalo (UB) to announce a major, multi-million dollar award to the
university to construct a 1.1 megawatt solar energy array on UB’s
North (Amherst) Campus. The solar array, consisting of approximately
5,000 photovoltaic panels, will generate clean energy directly from
the sun for students living in UB’s apartment complexes.
NYPA will work with UB to provide site design,
engineering and construction services for this project.
The award to UB will serve as a cornerstone of
NYPA’s $21 million statewide renewable energy program and will
advance the UB 2020 strategic plan’s focus on making the
university’s three campuses great places to live, work and learn, in
part by improving their environmental sustainability.
It will be the largest solar installation on any
college or university campus in New York State and one of the
largest on any campus in the United States, according to the
American Solar Energy Society.
“This partnership between NYPA and UB exemplifies
how New York State is poised to become the leader in this new energy
economy,” said Governor David A. Paterson. “This project also
demonstrates my Administration’s commitment to achieving the clean
energy goals of the ambitious ’45 by 15’ program, which will create
clean energy jobs throughout New York State, and result in greater
energy independence and a cleaner environment.”
Richard M. Kessel, NYPA president and chief
executive officer, said, “NYPA is committed to investing in Western
New York, and the University at Buffalo is the perfect partner for
promoting, developing, educating and training in photovoltaic
technologies for a cleaner environment, energy independence and
“Through this project, NYPA is making great strides
in advancing Governor Paterson’s ‘45 by 15’ initiative, which sets a
date of 2015 by which New York State is to meet 45 percent of its
electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and clean
According to NYPA, UB’s North Campus solar array
will reduce carbon emissions at UB by more than 500 metric tons per
Designed to produce 1.1 megawatts (1.1 million
watts) of electricity, the UB solar array is expected to be
operating by fall 2010. It will provide power to UB’s Flint,
Hadley, South Lake and Creekside Village apartments, a total of 735
apartments, housing nearly 2,000 undergraduate and graduate UB
According to NYPA, the UB solar array will be
specially designed to operate in a cold weather environment and to
withstand heavy snowfall, serving as a benchmark for future systems
in similar climates. In doing so, the UB/NYPA project will promote
the development of innovative solar technologies.
As a result of this project, Western New York could
become a new center for green-collar jobs, as the UB/NYPA
partnership includes collaborations with the university and area
colleges to start training and certifying personnel in the
installation of solar panels.
UB President John B. Simpson said UB “takes great
pleasure in accepting this exciting award from the New York Power
“This award not only recognizes UB’s long record of
environmental leadership, but it commits us to a greener, more
sustainable future that is exactly in keeping with the goals of UB
2020 and Building UB,” he said.
“By helping us generate our own power on campus,
this solar array helps us take a significant step toward meeting one
of the primary goals of the American College and University
Presidents Climate Commitment, in which the university has pledged
to go ‘climate-neutral,’” Simpson added.
Combined with existing clean energy purchases, this
project puts UB well past the 15 percent interim renewable energy
target set for signatories of the Presidents’ Climate Commitment.
Simpson noted that the project also will foster UB
education and research with the School of Engineering and Applied
Sciences in the area of renewable energy. It will provide students
and researchers with the opportunity to study and track the
real-time functioning of an on-site clean energy system. The system
will include a data acquisition feature that will be especially
useful in research and education.
New York State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer,
said, “As a graduate of SUNY at Buffalo, I am very supportive of the
solar panel project which will be one of the largest solar projects
in New York State.”
New York State Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak, said,
"This joint project between NYPA and UB will prove to be a blueprint
for other campuses across the nation. UB once again is spearheading
a new era in WNY as we look to conserve energy, reduce carbon
emissions and generate green collar jobs."
Contrary to the conventional wisdom about Buffalo’s
weather, data from the National Weather Service shows that from May
through November, Buffalo is the sunniest and driest city in the
Northeast, making it an ideal candidate for generating solar power.
The project will give many UB students the unique
experience of living in apartments where their electricity is
provided not by the burning of fossil fuels hundreds of miles away
but by the clean, renewable power of the sun here on campus with
virtually no greenhouse gas emissions, Simpson noted.
UB student Emily Bauer, member of the UB
Environmental Stewardship Committee and a delegate to the State
University of New York Student Assembly, said she and her fellow
students look forward to construction of the solar array on UB’s
"Climate change is one of the biggest problems
facing the next generation and is of great concern to UB students,”
she said. “By stepping up as a leader in solar energy, UB has shown
it is committed to a bright future for our environment."
State Senator Antoine Thompson said the NYPA/Buffalo
partnership is a step forward for green energy in Western New York.
“As Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, I have
been focused on making Buffalo an epicenter for green initiatives,”
Thompson noted. “An institution of the size of UB making the
decision to run on solar panels instead of electricity is a step in
the right direction. Conserving energy and resources in this way
benefits the environment greatly.”
The new solar installation at UB will be the
largest ground-mounted PV system in New York State.
Its 5,000 panels will be installed on or adjacent
to the North Campus grounds of the Melvin H. Baker Chilled Water
Plant on Flint Road, which delivers utility services to the 1,200-
acre suburban campus.
This will be UB’s second solar electric system; in
2006, UB installed a 73.5 kilowatt demonstration solar system on top
of Norton Hall, which provides at least 6 percent of that building’s
■ 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. ■ NYPA is a leader in promoting
energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric
transportation initiatives. ■ It is the
nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating
facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400
circuit-miles of transmission lines. For more
■The University at Buffalo is a premier
research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the
State University of New York system and its largest and most
comprehensive campus. ■ UB's more than
28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than
300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs.
■ Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a
member of the Association of American Universities.
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