New Photovoltaic System Will Save $130,000 Annually
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $1.7 million, 500-kilowatt solar system to be installed at Robert Moses State Park, which will make the Suffolk County coastal park the first energy neutral state park in the nation. The new system will create a greener, more sustainable park and achieve an annual $130,000 in cost savings. The announcement is in honor of Earth Week, April 19-25, which Governor Cuomo proclaimed as a weeklong celebration of New York’s commitment to protecting our environment.
“New York is proud to once again lead the way and host the first energy-neutral state park in the country," Governor Cuomo said. "This state is home to some of the most beautiful parks in the nation, and we remain committed to their protection and sustainability. As we celebrate Earth Week, we recognize the value of New York's natural resources, how important it is to lower our carbon footprint and promote a cleaner and healthier environment."
The park will become energy neutral through a net-metering agreement with PSEG Long Island, and through an energy audit on the park. The audit will recommend how the park can become more energy efficient, and those ideas will be implemented prior to the installation of the new photovoltaic (PV) system. The electricity generated by the solar array will meet or exceed the annual usage of the park.
The $1.7 million project is a part of the Governor’s NY Parks 2020 that modernizes the New York State park system. NY Parks 2020 is a multi-year commitment to leverage a broad range of private and public funding to invest approximately $900 million in State Parks from 2011 to 2020. The 2015-16 State Budget includes $110 million toward this initiative. PSEG Long Island is contributing $87,000 toward the project.
State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said, “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, State Parks is embracing the use of clean energy technology to green and modernize our facilities. This major installation sets the tone for making all State Parks as energy efficient as possible while saving taxpayer money and reducing energy costs. Our trained corps of certified PV system installers will help us ramp up efforts to harness the plentiful sunshine in our State Parks.”
State Parks expects to install another 300kW of solar-power generating capacity at parks across the state this year, including projects at Sunken Meadow State Park on Long Island, Peebles Island State Park and Thacher State Park in the Capital Region, and Alan Treman State Park in the Finger Lakes.
Newly trained State Park employees will install the 1,792-panel pole-mounted PV system at the rear of Fields 2 and 4 parking lots. In partnership with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Alfred State University, 20 State Park electricians have been trained and certified to install photovoltaic deployments. The Robert Moses installation is the tenth and largest PV project undertaken by State Park employees to date. These earlier installations will generate approximately 180,000 kWh of electricity annually, saving nearly $30,000 a year over the minimum guaranteed 25-year life of each PV systems. Buffalo-based National Solar Technologies designed the system and supplied the PV panels and equipment.
John B. Rhodes, President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority said, “The project at Robert Moses State Park serves as a great example of how New York is investing in clean energy throughout its parks system, and the benefits that can result through its commitment to energy efficiency and renewable energy. This project, with tremendous involvement by State Parks employees, exemplifies how clean, renewable power provides economic and environmental benefits under Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision plan."
Senator Phil Boyle said, “Every step we take to improve the energy efficiency of our State improves the quality of the environment and our lives. I applaud Governor Cuomo, Rose Harvey and the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for their innovation and for once again making New York the State to emulate.”
Assemblyman Joseph Saladino said, "New Yorkers realize the use of solar energy and renewables are a must. This investment embraces green technology, protects the environment and in ten short years pays for itself. The numbers prove that we are taking a responsible approach for taxpayers and as environmentalists the project leads the way. We New Yorkers are proud to be number one and show the rest of the country the right way to do it. I am happy to be working on another environmental project with Governor Cuomo who once again proves he understands how important our beaches are to us."
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, “I applaud Governor Cuomo for continuing to lead by example and provide funding for this very important energy efficient initiative. Robert Moses State Park is visited by hundreds of thousands of residents on a yearly basis. Providing the opportunity to install a solar system not only serves to protect the environment but will continue to keep in the forefront for visitors the importance of the use of renewable energy and technology.”
Michael Voltz, Director of Energy Efficiency and Renewables, said, “State Parks has done an exceptional job of leveraging PSEG Long Island’s programs which assist our customers in achieving energy efficiency and lowering their energy bills. The installation of energy-efficient measures and a solar PV system will save the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation money while making Long Island a cleaner and more sustainable environment for the next generation.”
Governor Cuomo has identified increasing energy efficiency as among the most cost-effective methods for reducing greenhouse gas and other environmental pollutant emissions, and issued an Executive Order directing state agencies to increase energy efficiency in state buildings by 20 percent by 2020. Solar power will protect the environment, prepare for climate change and make agency operations more efficient, and more focused on services for park visitors.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 60 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.