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NYPA Puts Solar Power and Energy Efficiency to Work in Malone Central School District

Connie M. Cullen

November 18, 2005


MALONE— Senator Elizabeth Little today joined Allen Schriver, regional manager, Northern New York, New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Stephen T. Shafer, superintendent of schools, Malone Central School District, in announcing the operation of a solar-power project at the Franklin Academy High School—one of several initiatives NYPA is currently undertaking in the district for clean electricity and energy efficiency. 

The solar photovoltaic (PV) installation, which is providing electricity for Franklin Academy is the first such project that NYPA has installed in Northern New York.  To date, NYPA has placed in service 22 solar arrays in various parts of the state including this installation at the Franklin Academy.

“The solar panels installed by NYPA are a direct result of Governor Pataki’s commitment to reduce New York’s reliance on foreign oil. This type of demonstration project can also inspire student interest in the clean energy technologies we will need in the future. I applaud the Power Authority’s selection of Franklin Academy as a solar power site,” said Senator Little.                                           

“Solar power fits perfectly with Governor Pataki’s goals of cleaning the air and attracting new industries to the state.  This is also an opportunity for Malone’s students to see, first- hand, a clean energy technology that will play a part in our energy future,” said NYPA’s Schriver, who represented Eugene W. Zeltmann, the Power Authority’s president and chief executive officer, at Friday’s event.

The Governor approved a $75,000 grant from the state’s Petroleum Overcharge Restitution Fund (POCR), for the PV unit at Franklin Academy.  A special connection to the school’s computer network will allow students to monitor the solar panels’ real-time production of electricity.

"The Malone Central School District takes pride in its high-quality educational programming. The photovoltaic system will enhance the learning opportunities for our students and inspire their creativity in formulating solutions to the energy supply challenges facing our state," said Superintendent Shafer.

PV cells are crystal silicon wafers which, when exposed to sunlight, generate direct current.  The 6-kilowatt array atop Franklin Academy has a footprint of about 650 square feet, consisting of 40 panels, each mounted to a ballast pan designed to withstand high wind speeds without the need to be attached to the roof. At peak solar conditions the panels will generate approximately 8,000 kilowatt hours—annually—enough to power approximately three average-sized homes.      

Direct current from the array flows to a power inverter in an electrical panel located elsewhere in the school building, where it is converted into alternating current, to meet roughly two to three percent of the school’s electricity demand.

The Franklin Academy along with the district’s Davis Elementary School will also soon benefit from another NYPA energy services project.  New digital boiler controls are being installed at both schools to improve efficiency and reduce maintenance. At Davis, an existing energy management system is being expanded.  The upgrades at both schools were financed through another POCR grant, for nearly $102,000, secured by Senator Little.  The work will result in annual savings to the school district of nearly $15,000.

POCR is a fund established to provide restitution to consumers for overcharges by major petroleum companies in the past.  In New York State, the fund is administered by NYPA.

The Power Authority’s goal, under Governor Pataki’s leadership, is to invest up to $100 million a year in clean energy projects and energy efficiency, including public and private schools across the state.

About NYPA:

■The New York Power Authority is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 17 generating plants in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.  ■ NYPA uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and earns revenue from proceeds of its operations, which stems largely from the sale of electricity. ■ NYPA is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.