One of the largest solar energy systems in New York State planned for NY College

4 July 2013

NEW YORK: A solar energy system that is planned for a college in New York will enable a 23% reduction of greenhouse gases and is set to be one of the largest systems in the state.

New York’s Houghton College, in partnership with Smart Energy Capital, has just announced that one of the largest solar energy systems in New York State will be located on its campus.

The 2.5 megawatt solar system will be located on the northern side of the grounds and the college has just signed a power purchase agreement to buy solar electricity from the site. 

New York solar 

The solar system is funded by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative. So far the NY-Sun Initiative has used its NY Sun Competitive PV Program to invest US$46 million in solar energy.

The New York State Energy and Research and Development Authority is responsible for the administration of the projects, and expects that the Houghton initiative will be completed by the end of 2013.

Carbon neutral college

The college has set a sustainability target of being carbon neutral by 2050 and this project accelerates progress towards that goal. Brian Webb, Sustainability Coordinator at Houghton, said: “This solar project and the accompanying purchase of renewable energy certificates represents our first major step toward achieving that goal.”

It is anticipated that over half of the college's energy demands will be met by the solar system – greenhouse gas emissions will instantly be cut by 23%. Furthermore, the college believes that costs will be cut by US$1.3 million over the contract period.

Christian ethos

The college has a Christian ethos and believes strongly that it must take responsibility for man-made climate change: "As Christians, our faith compels us to act responsibly and wisely in our stewardship of the earth. By making this solar facility a reality, Houghton will be able to replace nearly 3 million kilowatt hours of fossil fuel-generated electricity with clean, renewable energy straight from the sun. This translates into cleaner air and water, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and a healthier climate for future generations”, Webb said.

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By Alana Ryan

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