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SUNY Cortland & SolarCity Make 100% Renewable Energy a Reality

published: 2014-05-13 11:36

SUNY Cortland and SolarCity® have completed three solar projects that can create up to 1.06MW of solar power and are expected to provide 6% of the campus’ electricity needs. These solar projects are key component to SUNY Cortland’s efforts to be powered by 100% renewable energy.

SUNY Cortland strives to achieve its goal of 100% renewable energy and SolarCity gives the university a huge hand. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia) 

Expecting the school to save thousands on energy costs over the life of the system, SolarCity engaged in this project and provided its service. The savings will allow the school to purchase renewable energy from additional sources to help achieve its goal of supporting 100 % of the campus’ electrical needs with clean energy.

“Over the years, SUNY Cortland has dramatically reduced the amount of greenhouse gas it generates, and this solar project marks another huge step forward,” SUNY Cortland President Erik Bitterbaum said. “SolarCity allows us to pay less for solar electricity than we pay for power generated by fossil fuels, and we hope these projects will serve as a model for other campuses in the SUNY system.”

The solar arrays are expected to produce 1.5 million kWh of clean solar power in the first year — enough power to supply between 100 - 200 average New York homes. There are three separate solar installations on campus:

  • A 200 kilowatt system on the roof of the Park Center Alumni Arena;
  • A 200 kilowatt system on the roof of the new Student Life Center; and
  • A 661 kilowatt ground-mounted system on the grassy area off Route 281.

SUNY Cortland will not own the panels and will pay no money up front, but will buy the solar power created at a comparable or slightly lower cost to utility power. The arrangement is a 20-year power purchase agreement in which the college agrees to buy solar power from SolarCity according to a schedule of set prices.

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