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Solar Power Project Producing Clean Electricity for Staten Island Public School 

Michael Saltzman

Joseph Leary

November 21, 2005


STATEN ISLAND—Youngsters at P.S. 13 in the Rosebank section can now get a first-hand look at a cutting-edge, alternative-energy technology thanks to a solar power project that the New York Power Authority (NYPA) has installed on the roof of their school.

“Solar power like other renewable power sources has an important role to play for diversifying power generation in New York City, strengthening service reliability and improving air quality,” said Joseph Leary, NYPA director, Public and Governmental Affairs at a Monday morning event to mark the operation of the solar project. “Governor Pataki has placed great importance on investing in these technologies, and public schools like this one are terrific locations to put them to use, considering their educational value—not to mention energy and environmental benefits.”

Leary noted that the Power Authority expects to soon install a second solar-power unit at P.S. 14, also on Staten Island.

“Governor Pataki has set into motion a process for renewables to account for up to 25 percent of the total electricity purchases in the state by 2013,” said Nicole Malliotakis, representing the Governor. “This solar power installation is a perfect example of what we’re trying to accomplish in New York City and throughout the state, tapping the knowledge, experience, and resources of organizations like the New York Power Authority for expanding clean generating technologies and reducing dependence on foreign oil.

Governor Pataki made possible grants totaling $150,000 for the solar projects at P.S. 13 and 14 from the state’s Petroleum Overcharge Restitution (POCR) fund. With the operation of the unit at P.S. 13, the Power Authority has now installed a total of 23 solar projects in various parts of the state.

“What a wonderful opportunity to educate our young people on the conversion of sunlight into electricity,” said Assemblyman Matthew Mirones, whose legislative district includes Vermont Avenue, where P.S. 13 is located. “Governor Pataki and the Power Authority are to be commended for this solar installation and the energy efficiency work that was previously undertaken at this school.

Last year, NYPA completed boiler and lighting upgrades at P.S. 13, investing over $2 million for those improvements. The school is saving $17,000 a year on its electric bills from the lighting upgrade. The new dual-fired boiler, which burns natural gas and low-sulfur oil, is far cleaner than the boiler it replaced.

“We’re really appreciative of the efforts on our behalf for clean air and lower utility bills. I know that our teachers will spark student interest in energy and electricity generation in discussing the solar project, whose operation the kids will be able to monitor from the classroom, thanks to a special connection to the school computer network,” said Mark Gray, P.S. 13 principal.         

Solar projects like P.S. 13’s and the one planned for P.S. 14 rely on crystal silicon wafers to generate electricity from sunlight. The solar panels for each project are expected to produce approximately 8,000 kilowatt hours a year for meeting a small portion of the electricity demand of the schools.

The installations operate most effectively during the summer, when electricity demand is greatest and any additional generation contributes to the reliability of the city’s overall electric power system.

The Power Authority, which provides economical power for New York City schools and thousands of other public facilities in the five boroughs, is planning additional solar power installations. To date, NYPA has completed clean energy and efficiency projects at more than 1,100 tax-supported facilities in the city, lowering their annual utility bills by about $55 million and power demand by over 172,000 kw. The cutback in electricity from the power grid has also reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 443,000 tons a year.

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.