Proposed solar array offers a bright energy future

Jul 15, 2013 by Blaine Friedlander
Proposed solar array offers a bright energy future
An artistic rendering on how the solar panel array might look.

Here comes the sun: Cornell hopes to expand its renewable energy portfolio as it benefits from the NY-Sun Initiative, a series of large-scale, solar energy projects expected to add about 67 megawatts of solar electricity to the state.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office announced July 9 that the New York State Electric Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA) will fund Cornell's project, and, in turn, the university will partner with grant awardee Distributed Sun LLC, a company that builds and operates state-of-the-art solar-power generation systems. This project advances the goals of the new Southern Tier plan to obtain 2 percent of the region's electricity from solar power by 2032.

On Cornell's behalf, current plans call for Distributed Sun to install 6,766 on a 10-acre Cornell property site on Snyder Road, adjacent to the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport. The solar photovoltaic panel array, pending approval from the town of Lansing and finalizing the developer agreement, will be Cornell's first large-scale solar project and is expected to produce about 2.5 million kilowatt-hours annually, or about 1 percent of Cornell's total electricity use. That's enough electricity to power about 320 homes for a year. Sarah Zemanick, sustainability management specialist, led the project team.

Says Kyu Whang, Cornell vice president for facilities: "Pending local approvals, this represents a significant step to advance Cornell's renewable energy portfolio. A Lansing solar facility would align with the goals of Cornell, Tompkins County and New York state."

Symbolically, this is an important step toward implementing the Cornell Climate Action Plan, targeted to eliminate campus by 2050 by replacing fossil-fuel carbon energy with clean, renewable energy.

Distributed Sun co-chairman Jeff Weiss '79 says: "Distributed Sun and Cornell are working to advance solar generation near the Ithaca campus. Gov. Cuomo encouraged investment and designed programs to attract capital. This Cornell project demonstrates that the state can work well with developers, investors and energy users such as Cornell to reduce carbon emissions and expand renewable output. We're a proud partner with Cornell, and are excited for the opportunity to build on this model and complete many more projects in Ithaca, New York City and wherever the university needs electric power."

The solar panel array will not interfere with pilots at the airport, since the panels sport anti-reflective glass to retain as much of the sun's energy as possible. Several solar panel arrays at the Denver, San Francisco and Indianapolis international airports have been built. They present no hazard to airspace safety, according to the FAA.

Distributed Sun is including 10 solar panels for Cornell academic use. This will include physical access to manipulate the 10 panels and access to the Web-based dashboard of the array's state-of-the-art monitoring software. It is planned that energy and real-time energy use data will be publicly available on the Web.

The Cornell and Distributed Sun solar array aligns with the Southern Tier's regional plan to reduce carbon emission and strengthen the local economy. In the late spring, the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council and the Tompkins County Legislature endorsed the 22-point "Cleaner Greener Southern Tier" plan, which establishes goals for reducing carbon emissions by 32 percent over 20 years.

The NY-Sun Initiative strives to expand the renewable market in New York state while working to steadily bring down the costs of the technology.

Explore further: Cook farm waste into energy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Germany to pull plug on solar subsidies by 2018

Jul 08, 2013

Germany will stop subsidising solar energy by 2018 at the latest, its environment minister said Monday after last year initiating a scaling-back of generous state support for the faltering industry.

Research uses mirrors to make solar energy cost competitive

Apr 16, 2013

If the current national challenge to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of this decade is met, Ranga Pitchumani, the John R. Jones III Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia ...

Morocco sees 12% of power from sun by 2020

Sep 11, 2012

Morocco said Tuesday it is "very confident" of finding the investment needed to build vast solar power plants in its southern desert regions and become a world-class solar energy producer.

Recommended for you

Website shines light on renewable energy resources

3 hours ago

A team from the University of Arizona and eight southwestern electric utility companies have built a pioneering web portal that provides insight into renewable energy sources and how they contribute to the ...

Better software cuts computer energy use

3 hours ago

An EU research project is developing tools to help software engineers create energy-efficient code, which could reduce electricity consumption at data centres by up to 50% and improve battery life in smart ...

Cook farm waste into energy

23 hours ago

It takes some cooking, but turning farm waste into biofuels is now possible and makes economic sense, according to preliminary research from the University of Guelph.

Developing a reliable wind 'super grid' for Europe

Dec 17, 2014

EU researchers are involved in the development of a pan-European 'super grid' capable of dispersing wind power across Member States. This will bring more renewable energy into homes and businesses, help reduce ...

Boeing 737 factory to move to clean energy

Dec 16, 2014

Boeing said Tuesday it plans to buy renewable energy credits to replace fossil-fuel power at the factory in Washington state where it assembles its 737 commercial airplanes.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.