New Solar Project to Meet 10 Percent of Campus Electricity Needs
Construction is underway on a 2.9 megawatt (MW) solar electric project for Ithaca College that will provide enough electricity to meet approximately 10 percent of the campus's energy needs. Not only will the project produce clean, renewable energy for the college, it will lower its energy costs and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
The project, which is expected to be completed by summer, will feature a solar array of more than 9,000 panels on 15 acres of land in the Town of Seneca, Ontario County, approximately 40 miles from campus. The solar installation will generate the equivalent of powering 500 average-sized homes and the solar panels will offset 888 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents annually, which is comparable to taking 187 cars off the road.
Ithaca College's new 2.9 MW solar project is set to be completed by summer.
"This is a significant milestone in the history of Ithaca College, and in our commitment to sustainability," said President Tom Rochon. "We are proud to be making this tremendous leap forward in environmental stewardship on behalf of our students, faculty, staff and alumni as well as the wider community in which we all live."
The project received funding through New York State's $1 billion NY-Sun initiative, which is designed to build a self-sustaining solar industry in New York and help to achieve strategic energy goals under the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) and the Clean Energy Standard. This standard requires that 50 percent of electricity generated in New York come from renewable sources by 2030
"Increasing the use of solar energy is a critical component of Governor Cuomo's Reforming the Energy vision, and through our NY-Sun initiative, the State has achieved unprecedented solar growth," said Richard Kauffman, Chair of Energy and Finance for New York State. "I applaud the efforts of Ithaca College, along with those of residents, businesses and organizations across New York, whose solar projects help us achieve our aggressive renewable energy goals, combat climate change and build a clean energy economy."
In 2007, then-President of Ithaca College Peggy R. Williams signed the American College and University President's Climate Commitment, pledging that the college would develop a strategy and long-range plan to achieve carbon neutrality. In the fall of 2009, the Ithaca College Board of Trustees approved the Climate Action Plan, setting that strategy into motion and committing the college to becoming 100 percent carbon neutral by 2050.
"This solar power purchase agreement will reduce the college's greenhouse gas emissions by three percent compared to the baseline year of 2007, completing one of the objectives listed in the Climate Action Plan," said Gerald Hector, Ithaca College vice president for finance and administration. "We are also excited by the educational opportunities the project will provide, since the system will be available for student and faculty research purposes."