Story Published: Oct 14, 2014 at 6:25 AM EDT
(Story Updated: Oct 14, 2014 at 8:31 AM EDT)
When hundreds of small solar panels go online next month, Clarkson University will be able to generate close to 10 percent of its
overall electricity needs.
That may not seem like a lot, but Clarkson spends more than $2 million annually on power costs. The solar panels could save the university a quarter of a million dollars each year.
"The fact is, it really is motivated by non-economic reasons and that is the sustainable energy, the value that Clarkson puts in that," Clarkson chief financial officer James Fish said.
The 2-megawatt solar power farm, located on 12 acres of land Clarkson owns on Route 11 just outside Potsdam, is part of a public-private partnership with Community Energy Solar.
Community Energy will operate the solar array and Clarkson will buy the power under a 25-year contract.
"No noise, no emissions, no pollution," Community Energy's Tom Tuffy said. "It just produces power for 30 years."
Clarkson's project was partially funded by a state NY-Sun subsidy through the state's Energy and Research Development Authority.
Not only will Clarkson be able to save power costs, reducing its carbon footprint by directly tapping solar energy, the university plans to use the system for research and curriculum development.
"The university has electrical engineering as a major here," Fish said, "and this will be a living laboratory."
The 7,700 solar panels are expected to generate 2.8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, enough to power around 350 average homes.
Source: WNYF News & wwnytv.com