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Solar Power Array On-line at  Monroe-Woodbury High School

Brian Warner

October 18, 2005


CENTRAL VALLEY – Monroe-Woodbury High School is using the sun’s power to help meet its electricity needs and demonstrate the advantages of renewable energy technologies thanks to a roof-mounted six-kilowatt photovoltaic array installed by the New York Power Authority (NYPA).

NYPA President and Chief Executive Officer Eugene W. Zeltmann and Sen. Bill Larkin joined Superintendent of Schools John Canzoneri at the high school Tuesday, where the new solar power system is now operational.

“Renewable energy sources such as solar power are important to the Empire State’s future,” said NYPA President Zeltmann. “Our state and nation need to lessen dependence on foreign oil. Educating today’s youth about renewable energy, with projects such as Monroe-Woodbury’s solar panels, will help us move to greater energy independence in the future.”

 “New York State under Gov. George Pataki continues to demonstrate the latest in new clean energy options. In order for us to move ahead, we must get our young people involved and that’s why I was pleased to work with NYPA to have this solar array installed at Monroe-Woodbury High School,” said Sen. Larkin.

Sen. Larkin secured a $75,000 grant from the state’s Petroleum Overcharge Restitution Fund (POCR), which enabled NYPA to install the photovoltaic array.

A special connection to the school’s computer network will enable students to monitor the solar panels’ output from the classroom.

“Educating our students to the benefits of solar energy is important to their understanding of a power source that will help to shape their future. The use of alternate energy sources such as solar energy is critical, especially now when we are faced with significant increases in the cost of fossil fuels,” said Superintendent Canzoneri.

The solar panels will generate approximately 8,000 kilowatt hours, enough electricity to power two to three average size homes. Photovoltaic cells are crystal silicon wafers which, when exposed to sunlight, generate direct current.  At Monroe-Woodbury High School, the array consists of 40 panels, each mounted to a ballast pan designed to withstand high wind speeds without the need for roof penetrations. This configuration has a footprint of about 650 square feet.

Power from the array flows to a power inverter in an electrical panel located elsewhere in the building and is then converted into 6 kw of usable alternating current, about two to three percent of school’s daily load. 

Beginning in 1997 and then again in 2002, Monroe-Woodbury officials took advantage of NYPA’s energy service program resulting in annual energy savings to the district of $228,000. The $4.7 million effort was aided by a $1 million POCR grant.    Overall measures installed in 14 buildings lowered the energy consumption by 960 megawatt hours, helping to eliminate the release of more than 1,800 tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.

Some of the energy saving measures installed throughout the Monroe Woodbury school district include high efficiency lighting and energy management control systems, steam traps, variable speed high efficiency motors and new energy saving windows.

Under Governor George Pataki’s leadership, NYPA has increased its annual investments in clean energy and energy efficiency to $100 million a year.  Among its array of energy services customers, NYPA installs energy efficiency measures at public and private schools across the state. NYPA is also the largest state operated energy provider in the United States. It supplies up to 25 percent of the state’s electrical needs; it operates 17 generating facilities and 1,400 circuit miles of high voltage transmission lines.