New York Power Authority Advances Historic Solar Energy Project:
Photovoltaic Arrays To Be Installed At Educational Facilities and Municipal Buildings Throughout New York State

Christine Pritchard

January 28, 2010


NIAGARA FALLS – New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and Chief Executive Officer Richard M. Kessel today was joined by Niagara Falls Mayor Paul A. Dyster and Niagara Falls City School Superintendent Cynthia A. Bianco to announce that its historic solar energy initiative, which was unveiled just yesterday, has already received a tremendous response, with some 60 interested parties registering to receive project information and Request for Proposals (RFP) updates. Many of those who registered are potential solar project developers. 

NYPA's 100 MW Solar Photovoltaic Initiative is an unprecedented clean energy project that will stimulate the clean energy industry throughout the state, provide renewable energy educational opportunities, support public sustainability efforts and foster the development of solar technologies.

The NYPA RFP seeks a public-private partnership for the installation of up to 100 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) systems across the state, including roof-mounted and ground-mounted solar arrays. When fully installed, this project will be the largest solar project in state history and will generate the equivalent of powering approximately 15,000 homes.

The project is aimed at the development of distributed solar photovoltaic generating facilities that will be installed throughout the state primarily at schools, public universities and colleges, state and local government facilities, municipal electric utilities and rural electric cooperatives.  This project will be both the catalyst for the state’s growing solar industry, and will support and advance sustainability efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of state and local public facilities by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45,000 tons per year.

"A sustainable future for New York requires bold initiatives which will increase the deployment of clean energy," Governor Paterson said. "The New York Power Authority's advancement of this, the largest solar initiative in State history, aligns with the State Energy Plan's direction to increase in-State energy supplies. In doing so, this initiative will support growth in the clean energy industry and promote job creation, diversify our energy portfolio and support our energy independence."

Richard M. Kessel, NYPA president and chief executive officer, said: “Through this solar initiative, the New York Power Authority is working toward Governor Paterson’s 45 by 15 goal and helping build the solar industry in New York State. This initiative will advance the development of the solar industry and clean energy jobs throughout the state, will further help diversify our energy sources and incorporate green power educational opportunities for our schools.”

The Power Authority is soliciting proposals from developers to install, own and operate PV arrays, and to sell all the energy and environmental attributes to NYPA subject to a 20-year power purchase agreement.  NYPA will then enter into contracts with the project hosts, such as the school where the PV array is located, for the distribution of green power.

Installation of the solar photovoltaic projects is expected to begin in 2010 and be completed by the end of 2014.

Specifically, the RFP calls for bids related to four separate categories and five separate regions. Bidders can submit proposals for one or more regions in one or more categories.  The categories include: government facilities, including public colleges and universities; public and private K-12 schools; and parking lot canopies at any governmental, educational facilities and facilities in the municipal and rural cooperative territories. The regions are Western New York, Northern New York, Central New York, Southeast New York and New York City.

In addition to providing clean power to host facilities, the initiative will include the development of large scale “Community Solar” projects which will connect to the distribution systems of municipal utilities and rural electric cooperatives.  Community Solar projects utilize available space to generate power for an electric distribution grids rather than a single host site.  Renewable energy can then be transmitted to any loads connected to that grid.  These large scale projects can reduce costs and provide relief for grids nearing their transmission capacity.

The deadline for RFP responses is April 22. Recommendations for an award are expected to be made at the September meeting of NYPA’s Board of Trustees.

A Proposers’ Conference will be held at NYPA offices in White Plains on March 2 where NYPA staff will provide an overview of key elements of the RFP and answer questions from interested parties. RFP documents and further details of the conference will be posted on NYPA’s website at www.nypa.gov/solar/100mw.

Governor Paterson’s ‘45 by 15’ program is one of the nation’s most aggressive energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives. By 2015, New York State will receive 45 percent of its electricity through energy efficiency and clean renewable energy. It is conservatively estimated that this program will create 50,000 new jobs throughout the State.

In advancement of this bold plan, NYPA has installed or is undertaking projects to install nearly 50 PV systems throughout the State with a combined capacity of 3,000 kilowatts. Just in the past few months alone, NYPA has commenced solar projects with the University at Buffalo and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.  This Statewide 100 MW Solar Project will significantly enhance the Power Authority’s commitment to the advancement of the solar industry in New York State.



Michael J. Townsend, NYPA chairman, said: “The future economy of this state and nation will prosper or decline based upon our level of commitment to advancing the development of green technologies and supporting energy independence. Under Governor Paterson’s leadership, the New York Power Authority continues to find bold ways to bolster the clean energy economy through initiatives such as this one that will greatly increase our access to clean power and be the catalyst for the expansion of the solar industry in New York State.”

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul A. Dyster, said: “The City of Niagara Falls is pleased to be able to work with the New York Power Authority to develop and expand solar energy locally and state-wide. This ambitious NYPA initiative translates into clean energy and substantial economic development through the creation of green energy jobs. We’ve been working closely with several companies in our city that are making inroads as material suppliers to the solar energy industry. I foresee a time in the not too distant future in which the City of Niagara Falls, in cooperation with and in compliment to the New York Power Authority’s solar initiative, will become a major innovator in the world of alternative energy design and supply.”

State Senator William T. Stachowski said: “Green energy is clean energy, and I applaud the Power Authority’s announcement for the Request For Proposal seeking bids for the development of Solar Photovoltaic power for schools, governments, and municipal offices. By improved energy efficiency, with clean renewable green energy, universities and municipalities will not only save money, but protect our environment for the future. Locating the Solar Photovoltaic systems at schools and universities provides educational opportunities for students to gain knowledge and experience with clean energy and promote interest in green energy careers.”

Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, said:  "I am pleased to join Governor Paterson, the New York Power Authority and my colleagues in the legislature as we work collaboratively to advance New York State's clean and renewable energy initiatives."

Assemblyman Jim Hayes, said:  "Green energy and green jobs are a critical part of New York's economic recovery. This is one opportunity to grow economic development and move toward reaching the State's alternative energy use goals."

Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak, said:  “Harnessing the sun’s rays and converting solar radiation into direct current electricity is essential to meet the growing demand for renewable energy sources. I commend New York Power Authority President Richard Kessel and the NYPA for taking action to improve energy efficiency by focusing on clean renewable energy sources and promoting interest in green collar careers. The green economy is a path to economic revitalization in Western New York.”

Assemblyman Mark J.F. Schroeder, said:  “Clean, renewable energy sources like solar power are the key to protecting the environment and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. This cutting edge technology is also vital in reshaping New York State's economy for the 21st century."

Peter Lehner, Executive Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said: “With the 100 MW solar announcement today, Governor Paterson and the New York Power Authority are providing real leadership in shaping a strong solar presence in NYS and combined with the efforts of NYSERDA, LIPA, and investor owned utilities, New York should be in a strong position to achieve 2,000 MW of solar electricity capacity by 2020. The result will be a cleaner environment, green jobs, improved reliability, reduced reliance on imported energy and a new clean industry for New York.”

Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE), said: “The 100MW Solar Initiative shines as a gleaming example of how New York can fight climate change, build our local economy and create good jobs for New Yorkers. These large scale renewable energy projects are significant and meaningful game changers in leading New York into the 21st century. CCE commends Governor Paterson and NYPA CEO Richard Kessel for thinking outside the barrel and investing in clean, renewable solar power.”

Carol E. Murphy, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, said: “This project represents an important milestone for New York State’s renewable energy industry and its supply chain partners. We commend NYPA not only for its commitment to the environment and New York’s clean energy goals, but also for recognizing the major economic development potential of a thriving solar market. With public-private partnerships such as these, NYPA provides an excellent model for how to successfully drive development of our clean energy economy, and we look forward to seeing others follow suit and build upon our momentum.” 

Shaun Chapman, East Coast Campaigns Director of the Vote Solar Initiative, said: “What does 100 MW of solar mean for New York? It means powering about 20,000 homes. It means a big leap towards Governor Paterson’s ‘45 by 15’ renewable energy goal. It means getting local workers back to work building a cleaner economy. It means tapping our homegrown solar
resource to power New York communities. Keeping energy dollars at home and invested in a more sustainable future, rather than relying on volatile foreign energy sources. It means a new
era of energy generation. We applaud the Governor and President and CEO Kessel for their leadership in ushering in this new era for energy in New York.”

John Siciliani, Executive Director of the New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA), said: "Governor Paterson and NYPA should be applauded for this important project. In conjunction with a long-term solar vision for the State and further investments from other state agencies and initiatives, this project is sure to serve as an important catalyst in the growth of
the New York solar energy industry - creating clean energy jobs and serving as a real engine for economic growth."

Sandra Burton, Regional Director with the Solar Electric Power Association, said: “The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) commends the New York Power Authority for its innovative 100MW solar program. The program continues to demonstrate New York’s leadership in solar energy. NYPA’s program, when fully installed, will include a wide range of installations on community, government and utility facilities, making it the largest solar program in the New York.” 

Tom Key, technical executive at the Electric Power Research Institute, said: “The scale of NYPA’s initiative could enable New York distribution companies to better understand the future grid integration challenges of high penetration photovoltaic. This project will expand our knowledge base of what’s needed to integrate new technologies such as PV, and for designing a future electric grid that enable renewable energy, electric vehicles and other distributed energy technologies are deployed.”


About NYPA:

■ The New York Power Authority uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. ■ NYPA is a leader in promoting energy efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives. ■ It is the nation's largest state public power organization, with 17 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. ■ More than 80 percent of the electricity it produces is clean renewable hydropower.  Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state. ■For more information, www.nypa.gov.


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