Houghton College announced last week the completion of its 2.5 megawatt on-site solar energy installation, which is currently the largest on a college campus in New York State.
The array will provide enough energy to meet more than half of the school’s electricity needs, significantly reduce its energy costs and have a long-lasting positive environmental impact.
The system will generate an estimated 3.15 million kilowatt-hours of electricity in its first year of operation—the equivalent amount of energy needed to power 370 homes annually—and will allow the college to realize a 23 percent first-year greenhouse gas reduction and save up to $4.3 million during the 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) contract period.
Ribbon cutting ceremony
A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at the site of the solar array park — located at the Houghton College Field of Dreams — to celebrate the completion of the system. Special guest attendees and speakers included Houghton College President Shirley Mullen, Director of the NY-Sun program David Sandbank, other representatives from Houghton College, state and local officials, Borrego Solar, General Energy Solutions and WGL Energy.
— Houghton College (@HoughtonCollege) April 17, 2015
Houghton College solar installation
The project was designed and built by Borrego Solar Systems and financed by WGL Energy, through a PPA that covered all upfront costs. General Energy Solutions, which provided the 8,568 plus solar panels for the project, was the initial owner of the system, but introduced WGL Energy to the project and subsequently sold it to WGL Energy.
The new solar facility will allow Houghton to replace a significant amount of fossil fuel-generated electricity with renewable energy. This translates into cleaner air and water, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and a healthier climate for future generations. The installation will offset 2,000 metric tons of CO2 annually, which is the equivalent of taking 421 cars off the road or the amount of carbon sequestered by 1,639 acres of U.S. forests each year.
Houghton was awarded funding through NY-Sun, part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative. Through NY-Sun, the state is advancing the scale-up of solar power, moving the state closer to a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry. NY-Sun is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
The project has been made possible in part by New York’s solar policies, which have supported rapid development through a $1 billion commitment to solar, supportive permitting procedures and other programs to get more solar deployed.