July 21, 2016
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Completion of Largest Public School Solar Project in New York

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Completion of Largest...

Solar Array Will Provide Clean, Renewable Energy, Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Project Will Save Avon Central School District an Estimated $1.6 Million in Electricity Costs Over 25 years


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the completion of New York’s largest solar project to date at a public school in Avon. The project will provide clean, renewable energy to save the Avon Central School District an estimated $1.6 million over 25 years. This project is part of New York’s goal to supply 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy resources by 2030.

“New York State is leading the way in developing clean energy alternatives to help communities lower costs and reduce their carbon footprint,” Governor Cuomo said. “This project is another example of how we are taking action to preserve our environment and create a cleaner and greener New York.”

The announcement was made by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul at a ribbon cutting event in Avon earlier today. Solar energy is a key 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 1.5 megawatt (MW) off-site, ground-mounted solar array is located at 245 Clinton Street in Avon. The energy produced by the array is equivalent to the electricity needed to power approximately 250 average-sized homes. The project will reduce greenhouse gases by 927 metric tons, equivalent to taking approximately 200 cars off the road.

A photo of the solar arrays can be found here.

“Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State is making real strides in developing a clean energy system that encourages greater use of renewable energy and energy efficiency,” said Lieutenant Governor Hochul. "In addition to helping this school district reduce energy costs, the solar array will be used to educate students about solar and clean energy."

The project was supported with approximately $564,000 in incentives from Governor Cuomo's NY-Sun initiative, which is advancing the growth of a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry across the state. The solar project uses remote net metering and is located offsite. Net metering allows residential and commercial customers that install solar to receive a credit on their electricity bill for power generated by their system and fed back into the grid. The school district is expected to see about $1.6 million in credits on its electric bills that offset their electricity use over the life of a 25-year agreement.

Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance, New York State, said, “Under Governor Cuomo’s clean energy leadership, we’re seeing New York communities like Avon School District take up the challenge to adopt and deploy affordable and sustainable clean energy solutions into their lives. Every day, New York residents, businesses and communities across the state are adding cost-effective and clean energy sources like solar to the grid to protect against climate change as together, we create a better future for the next generation of New Yorkers.”

John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), said, “Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative created opportunities for residents, businesses and school districts to replace fossil fuels with clean, renewable solar energy, and save money in the process. I commend the Avon Central School District for its foresight in choosing to go solar and its contributions to building a cleaner community.”

The project is being developed through a power purchase agreement with WGL Energy Systems, which will own the solar array. Under the agreement, the school district paid no upfront costs for the solar project and will pay a fixed rate for the energy produced by the solar array. In addition, the Avon Central School District is working with WGL Energy Systems to design a curriculum around the solar project and its educational components.

This solar project is a continuation of Avon Central School District’s initiatives to reduce the district’s carbon footprint of its buildings and grounds. It was an early adopter of solar. The district has had a small (5.5 kilowatt) solar array on two school rooftops since 2008, has installed LED lighting and motion sensing lights, which have reduced electricity use, and is undergoing a capital project that includes new energy efficient equipment to heat and operate its swimming pool. The Avon Central School District is a rural district with 1,000 students in kindergarten through grade 12.

Senator Patrick Gallivan said, “I congratulate the Avon Central School District for taking a leadership role in the use of renewable forms of energy. This investment will reduce the district’s electricity costs and benefit the community by helping to protect our natural resources now and in the future.”

Aaron Johnson, Avon Superintendent of Schools, said, “Avon Central School District is extremely excited about the educational, environmental and financial benefits that will be achieved over the next 25 years with the installation of this project. NYSERDA and WGL have been critical partners in making this project a success, and we commend their efforts and support through this installation. Lastly, thank you to Avon Central Schools’ Board of Education for the leadership and courage they have demonstrated to bring this project to completion.”

Approximately 92 public school districts and private schools have completed solar projects in New York State with funding from NYSERDA. In addition, 318 school districts have registered for K-Solar, a public-private partnership between the New York Power Authority and NYSERDA in collaboration with competitively selected private sector solar developers.

The Avon Schools project began prior to New York State’s adoption of K-Solar to help make it easier for schools to go solar. K-Solar provides registered public and private schools with free ongoing advisory services, solar site assessments and energy analysis, technical and administrative support and an expedited permitting process.

Today's announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” a comprehensive blueprint to generate economic growth by building upon the region’s recent progress and investing in key industries, including photonics, agricultureý and food production, and advanced manufacturing. An historic $500 million State investment in the Finger Lakes region through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015, is leveraging more than $2.5 billion in private investment, creating thousands of jobs and providing the basis to create a highly successful and diverse 21st century economy. More information is available here.

Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion NY-Sun initiative has accelerated solar growth across the State. The amount of energy produced by solar in New York increased 575 percent from 2012 through 2015, adding 525 MW of clean, renewable power. More than 1,000 solar projects were installed in the Finger Lakes Region during this period, adding over 20 MW of power.

New York’s solar growth has also generated significant job growth in the solar industry. According to a national report, New York’s solar industry is now the fourth largest in the nation and currently employs more than 8,250 workers, an increase of more than 3,000 jobs since 2013. In 2016, double-digit job growth is expected to continue with another 1,000 additional jobs created as a result of the State’s robust solar project pipeline.

About Reforming the Energy Vision
Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) 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% of the state's electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030. Already, REV has driven 600% 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 State reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030 and achieves the internationally-recognized target of reducing emissions 80% by 2050. To learn more about REV, including the Governor's $5 billion investment in clean energy technology and innovation, please visit www.ny.gov/REV4NYand follow us at @Rev4NY.

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office