State-Funded Solar Project Helps Ithaca College Go Greener
Ithaca College, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Greenwood Energy, and Borrego Solar Systems have announced the completion of a state-backed solar project that will benefit the college. Borrego Solar co-developed, designed and built the 2.9 MW array, while Greenwood Energy will own and operate it.
The project uses remote net metering, which allows the college to get credit on its electricity bill over the next 25 years for excess power generated by an off-site system and fed back into the grid. The solar array consists of more than 9,000 solar panels on a 15-acre site in Seneca, N.Y., approximately 40 miles from campus.
The solar farm will generate an estimated 3.5 million kWh of electricity in its first year, which will provide roughly 10% of the campus’ electricity needs. This amount is equal to powering the college’s Gannett Center, Dillingham Center and Williams Hall academic buildings, along with the Emerson residence hall.
“I offer my thanks to our public and private partners for helping us make this project a reality,” says Ithaca College President Tom Rochon. “Its conception, commencement and completion serves as testament to the commitment Ithaca College has made to sustainability, not just in theory, but in action.”
“By enacting virtual net metering two years ago, New York regulators opened up solar to entities across New York that didn’t have land available on-site to make it a reality,” adds Rob Garrity, Borrego Solar project developer. “The program also launched the growth of a thriving solar market that continues to receive support and attention from the governor’s office.”
The project received $1.6 million in funding through NY-Sun, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $1 billion initiative to advance the scale-up of solar in the state.
NYSERDA administers NY-Sun, and John B. Rhodes, the agency’s president and CEO, says, “The use of solar energy by Ithaca College is a model for other colleges and universities and is vital to helping New York achieve Governor Cuomo’s energy goals. I commend the college for its continued commitment to the environment and for setting an example for its students, staff and local community on the benefits of clean energy.”
Camilo Patrignani, CEO of Greenwood Energy, says the company is “proud of making this private-public partnership a reality.”
The primary purpose of the array is to help reduce the college’s reliance on fossil fuels and to move forward on its Climate Action Plan, which was adopted in 2009. That plan called for the college to attain carbon neutrality by the year 2050. This is one of several programmatic activities the college has implemented in recent years as it moves forward with both on- and off-campus initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint.
Dominion Adds 56 MW Of Solar In Virginia
Dominion Virginia Power has announced the completion of three large-scale solar facilities in three Virginia counties: Isle of Wight, Louisa and Powhatan. At peak output, these projects will produce a total of 56 MW of solar generation – enough to power more than 14,000 homes.
“The successful completion of these solar projects is a result of the proficient collaboration between Dominion, the counties and the skilled crafts personnel that worked diligently and safely to get the job done,” comments Mark D. Mitchell, the utility’s vice president of generation construction. “We remain focused on meeting the energy needs of customers, and adding to our solar generation fleet continues to play an essential role in that effort.”
According to Dominion, work on the 19 MW Isle of Wight, 20 MW Louisa and 17 MW Powhatan projects created more than 550 jobs during construction. Most of the construction workers were hired locally within all three counties.
Dominion acquired the solar development in Isle of Wight from Coronal Development Services and the development in Powhatan from Virginia Solar LLC. The facility in Louisa was developed by Dominion. Amec Foster Wheeler, Dominion’s construction contractor, managed the facilities through the engineering and environmental permitting process in the first half of 2016, and the projects became operational at year-end.
Dominion says it now has announced at least 390 MW of large-scale solar facilities under development or already in operation in 12 Virginia localities. This amounts to enough electricity at peak capacity to power more than 95,000 homes.
Nantucket Farm To Offset 100% Of Energy Use
Bartlett’s Farm, a family-owned farm on the island of Nantucket, Mass., has teamed up with Dynamic Energy to install a solar project that is expected to offset 100% of the farm’s energy consumption. The 595 kW solar project, located on roughly three acres, is slated for completion in April.
According to the partners, energy is particularly expensive on the island, and the reduced operating expenses will help the farm further serve its customers and the community. Notably, this is not the farm’s first foray into renewable energy, as it has participated in wind energy projects since as early as the 1980s.
“As a seventh-generation business, we are keenly focused on the sustainability of the farm, and renewable energy helps ensure not only stable and low operating expenses, but also promotes cleaner air and water,” says John Bartlett.
“When you work in solar, it is particularly rewarding when your projects help organizations that are actively supporting their communities and the health of the planet,” adds Andreas Schmid, vice president of business development at Dynamic Energy. “With an increasing number of acres in organic production and a long history on Nantucket, Bartlett’s Farm is a community leader and has been very exciting for us to work with.”
APS Completes Project For PayPal And University
In partnership with online money transfer company PayPal and Arizona State University (ASU), utility APS has unveiled the 40 MW Red Rock Solar Plant. APS developed and will own and operate the project, located 30 miles south of Casa Grande in Red Rock, Ariz., and ASU and PayPal will purchase the project’s renewable energy.
“The construction of Red Rock is a great example of how we partner with our commercial customers to find innovative and sustainable solutions that can help them realize their green energy goals,” says Daniel Froetscher, APS senior vice president of transmission, distribution and customers. “The cooperation between APS, ASU and PayPal demonstrates how the Arizona business community is committed to developing solar energy in a smart, cost-effective manner.”
ASU and PayPal were both seeking ways to reduce their carbon footprint. This solar agreement helps ASU expand its solar energy sourcing beyond its almost 25 MW of on-campus solar sites. It also helps PayPal keep up with its energy demand while supporting a desire to be a leader in the community by driving energy sustainability.
“We are very pleased that the Red Rock Solar Plant will more than double our solar generating capacity to more than 50 MW,” comments Morgan R. Olsen, ASU executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer. “This project enables us to expand our solar portfolio substantially with no initial capital investment and underscores our sustainability commitment. ASU is proud to continue building our solar collection that has grown to 88 installations since 2004. In calendar year 2017, we expect approximately 30 percent of our electrical needs will be met with clean, renewable solar energy.”
Red Rock is APS’ largest grid-scale solar power plant, surpassing the 35 MW Foothills Solar Plant located near Yuma, Ariz. The utility says such large solar plants take advantage of economies of scale to provide additional solar to more customers at a lower cost.
“Arizona is one of the most solar-friendly states in the nation, and APS remains at the forefront among solar-friendly companies,” says Froetscher. “In fact, last year, we reached 1 GW of solar on our system, becoming the only utility outside California to achieve this milestone.”
The Red Rock Solar Plant is located east of APS’ Saguaro Natural Gas Power Plant on land APS has owned since the 1950s. The utility says that with transmission lines already nearby, the 400-acre plot was an ideal location for a grid-scale solar plant, and the land is now creating additional tax income for Pinal County and other local taxing authorities.