WPCNR THE POWER NEWS. From the New York Power Authority and WPCNR’s John Bailey. June 7, 2017:
The Somers Middle School in Westchester County today unveiled its new rooftop solar system to become New York State’s first school to receive a portion of its electricity through Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s innovative K-Solar clean energy initiative.
The K-Solar program helps schools statewide save money on energy and lower their carbon footprints, while also inspiring the next generation of energy leaders.
The Somers district paid no upfront costs for the solar project and will pay a fixed rate for the energy produced by the solar array.
The White Plains City School District has been approved for installing two such installations in the Governor’s program at the new Post Road School and White Plains High School, according school district Administrator of Facilities and Operations, Frank Stefanelli. Stefanelle told WPCNR it is a Planned Purchase Agreement of 18 years, and the details of the contract are currently being negotiated. He confirmed there is no charge for the two projects, that would be installed by Solar City.
Jill Anderson, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at the New York Power Authority (NYPA), Dr. Raymond H. Blanch, Superintendent of Schools for the Somers Central School District, and Somers Middle School Principal Jeff Getman kicked off a “turning on the panels” ceremony today at the school, along with 50 8th grade science class students, teachers and staff.
“The Somers district is leading the way in showing its community the importance of using renewable energy by going solar,” said Jill Anderson, NYPA executive vice president and chief commercial officer. “The K-Solar program provides the expertise to integrate a new power source into a district’s infrastructure while also incorporating lessons on sustainability and clean energy technology into a school’s curriculum.”
K-Solar is a core component of Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. The program aims to make solar energy an affordable and accessible option for schools in New York State that are interested in reducing their energy bills and carbon footprint. K-Solar also supports New York State’s goal to supply 50 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2030; the Governor’s “50 by 30” renewables goal.
About 380 districts – more than half the number in the state – have registered for the K-Solar program, which is also part of Cuomo’s $1 billion NY-Sun effort to expand the growth of a sustainable solar industry statewide. A partnership between NYPA and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) in collaboration with competitively selected solar developers, the K-Solar program aims to bring solar power to more public districts and non-public K-12 schools throughout the state.
As announced by Governor Cuomo last week as part of his Climate Jobs initiative, NYPA will double annual investments in energy efficiency and solar deployments from $150 million to $300 million to get more clean, renewable energy into local governments, public facilities, and schools.
As part of this investment, NYPA will conduct 1,000 energy efficiency and solar audits for municipalities and school districts by 2020 to help support prudent investments. NYPA also will install more than 125 megawatts of solar capacity on schools and other public buildings by 2020, through its K-Solar and BuildSmartNY initiatives, achieving a 300 percent increase in distributed solar projects at public facilities statewide.
The 390-panel 120-kilowatt system, located on the roof of the Somers Middle School, is expected to generate more than 136,000 kilowatt hours of solar electricity a year to offset the building’s electric load.
Overall, the project is expected to save the school more than $27,000 in energy costs. It is also estimated to offset more than 170,000 pounds of CO2 each year, which is equivalent to removing more than 280 cars from the road.
The middle school will be able to monitor the panel’s energy production live-time on a monitor in their lobby that shows the kilowatt hours of energy produced each day, how much was consumed and the percent of energy that is offset by solar.
The school, which already includes clean energy and climate change lessons in its STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) classes, will incorporate the real-time monitor and the solar panels into their electricity lessons. The K-Solar program offers training workshops for teachers at participating schools to train them on incorporating clean energy lessons into their STEM curriculums.
The Somers Central School District was already familiar with solar as it had a 50-kilowatt solar installation added to the roof of its high school in 2011 with the help of a NYSERDA grant.
To date, 25 districts throughout the state have signed 48 individual power purchase agreements and are developing solar panel installations.For more information or to register your school for an energy evaluation visit the K-Solar section of the NYPA website.