NYPA Press Release

NY Power Authority Announces First K-Solar School to Turn on Solar Power


Contact: NYPA Media Relations: 914-681-6770; Media.Inquiries@nypa.gov

Somers Middle School’s New Rooftop Solar Array to Provide Clean, Renewable Energy, Lower Energy Costs and Reduce Greenhouse Gases

School Districts throughout State Sign Up for K-Solar Program, Incorporate Clean Energy Lessons into STEM Curriculum

SOMERS, N.Y. - The Somers Middle School in Westchester County today unveiled its new rooftop solar system to become New York State’s first school to receive a portion of its electricity through Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s innovative K-Solar clean energy initiative. The K-Solar program helps schools statewide save money on energy and lower their carbon footprints, while also inspiring the next generation of energy leaders.

Jill Anderson, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at the New York Power Authority (NYPA), Dr. Raymond H. Blanch, Superintendent of Schools for the Somers Central School District, and Somers Middle School Principal Jeff Getman kicked off a “turning on the panels” ceremony today at the school, along with 50 8th grade science class students, teachers and staff.

“The Somers district is leading the way in showing its community the importance of using renewable energy by going solar,” said Jill Anderson, NYPA executive vice president and chief commercial officer. “The K-Solar program provides the expertise to integrate a new power source into a district’s infrastructure while also incorporating lessons on sustainability and clean energy technology into a school’s curriculum.

K-Solar is a core component of Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. The program aims to make solar energy an affordable and accessible option for schools in New York State that are interested in reducing their energy bills and carbon footprint. K-Solar also supports New York State’s goal to supply 50 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2030; the Governor’s “50 by 30” renewables goal.

About 380 districts – more than half the number in the state – have registered for the K-Solar program, which is also part of Cuomo's $1 billion NY-Sun effort to expand the growth of a sustainable solar industry statewide. A partnership between NYPA and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) in collaboration with competitively selected solar developers, the K-Solar program aims to bring solar power to more public districts and non-public K-12 schools throughout the state.

As announced by Governor Cuomo last week as part of his Climate Jobs initiative, NYPA will double annual investments in energy efficiency and solar deployments from $150 million to $300 million to get more clean, renewable energy into local governments, public facilities, and schools. As part of this investment, NYPA will conduct 1,000 energy efficiency and solar audits for municipalities and school districts by 2020 to help support prudent investments. NYPA also will install more than 125 megawatts of solar capacity on schools and other public buildings by 2020, through its K-Solar and BuildSmartNY initiatives, achieving a 300 percent increase in distributed solar projects at public facilities statewide.

The 390-panel 120-kilowatt system, located on the roof of the Somers Middle School, is expected to generate more than 136,000 kilowatt hours of solar electricity a year to offset the building’s electric load. Overall, the project is expected to save the school more than $27,000 in energy costs. It is also estimated to offset more than 170,000 pounds of CO2 each year, which is equivalent to removing more than 280 cars from the road.

The middle school will be able to monitor the panel’s energy production live-time on a monitor in their lobby that shows the kilowatt hours of energy produced each day, how much was consumed and the percent of energy that is offset by solar. The school, which already includes clean energy and climate change lessons in its STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) classes, will incorporate the real-time monitor and the solar panels into their electricity lessons. The K-Solar program offers training workshops for teachers at participating schools to train them on incorporating clean energy lessons into their STEM curriculums.

“We talk to kids about being good citizens of the planet and helping to reduce our carbon footprint and this is a good way to take what we teach and put it into action,” said Jeffrey Getman, Somers Middle School principal. “As a school district, we see our participation in the K-Solar program as an opportunity to show the community how we can all step up when it comes to pursuing clean energy solutions. The clean energy example starts with us.”

Through the K-Solar program, K-12 schools receive free energy advisory services from NYPA, site surveys, solar energy analyses and technical support, and are then matched with contracted solar developers to pursue installation. The Somers district paid no upfront costs for the solar project and will pay a fixed rate for the energy produced by the solar array. The Somers Central School District was already familiar with solar as it had a 50-kilowatt solar installation added to the roof of its high school in 2011 with the help of a NYSERDA grant.

Richard L. Kauffman, chair of Energy and Finance for New York, said, “K-Solar offers New York State’s school districts the opportunity to lead the charge in reforming our energy vision. Communities that take part in the K-Solar program are  making real changes that set an example for others. They are proving that solar energy is a practical solution that saves school energy costs, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and  elps pave the way for a cleaner, brighter energy future for New Yorkers.”

“Participation in the K-Solar program is a first step in helping communities-at-large think differently about clean energy,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. “K-Solar helps communities realize they can play a leadership role in going green and clean by embracing solar technology and reducing their fossil fuel footprint.”

John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said, “Somers Middle School serves as a valuable model for school districts across the state that want to lower energy costs through clean, renewable energy. The K-Solar program supports Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading energy agenda to broaden the use of renewable energy, reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and protect the environment.”

To date, 25 districts throughout the state have signed 48 individual power purchase agreements and are developing solar panel installations.

For more information or to register your school for an energy evaluation visit the K-Solar section of the NYPA website.

About NYPA


NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 70 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. NYPA 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. For more information visit www.nypa.gov and follow us on Twitter @NYPAenergy, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and LinkedIn.

About Reforming the Energy Vision

Reforming the Energy Vision is Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's strategy to lead on climate change and grow New York's economy. REV is building a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers by stimulating investment in clean technologies like solar, wind, and energy efficiency and generating 50 percent of the state's electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030. Already, REV has driven 730 percent growth in the statewide solar market, enabled over 105,000 low-income households to permanently cut their energy bills with energy efficiency, and created thousands of jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and other clean tech sectors. REV is ensuring New York reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and achieves the internationally recognized target of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050. To learn more about REV, including the Governor's $5 billion investment in clean energy technology and innovation, visit www.ny.gov/REV4NY and follow us at @Rev4NY.