Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Solar Farm Supplies Power To Ag Experiment Station

From Cornell University:

Cornell University’s Sutton Road Solar Farm is now operational and supplying power to the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva.

A 2-megawatt energy facility that will offset nearly 40 percent of the annual electricity demand at the experiment station, the solar farm in Seneca was built beginning last spring and is Cornell's second megawatt-scale solar project.

In September 2014, the university opened the Cornell Snyder Road Solar Farm with 6,778 photovoltaic panels on an 11-acre plot that adjoins the Tompkins County Regional Airport in Lansing, Tompkins County.  Adding the new Geneva array to the Lansing facility’s output, the university will produce about 5,700 megawatt-hours of electricity annually. 

“Our researchers are conducting basic and applied research to improve crops and make them more resilient to disease, drought and the worst effects of an uncertain climate as we chart a more sustainable agricultural future,” said Susan Brown, the Goichman Family Director of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. 

"Within our fruit and vegetable programs we’re studying the best way to harvest the sun, so it is only fitting that the energy powering our labs and greenhouses will do the same,” she said.

In September 2014, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced NY-Sun awards for large solar electric projects that will increase the solar energy capacity in the state by more than 214 megawatts, a 68 percent increase over the amount of solar installed. The NY-Sun Initiative strove to expand the state’s renewable energy market to bring down the costs of the technology.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority administers the NY-Sun awards, and it contributed about one-third of the project’s capital cost, while private developer Distributed Sun and Building Energy Asset Management LLC will own and operate the Geneva array. 

Jeff Weiss ’79 is co-chairman and managing director at Distributed Sun. Cornell will purchase the solar farm’s electricity through an agreement with the company.

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