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Governor Cuomo Announces Solar Power Program for Schools to Reduce Costs and Protect the Environment

Press Releases

40 School Districts Representing Nearly 200 Schools across the State Registered to Bring Clean, Local Power to Their Communities.

Albany, NY - September 4, 2014 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the rollout of K-Solar, a landmark program under the $1 billion NY-Sun Initiative, to help public school districts throughout New York State lower their energy costs with clean, local power. The program will provide schools with the tools, technical expertise and access to financing to make solar a realistic and affordable option for K-12 schools. To date, a total of 40 school districts have registered to participate in the program, representing nearly 200 schools in communities across the state.

“New York is becoming a national leader in the solar industry, and today we’re taking another major step forward by giving schools across the state the resources they need to tap into this innovative technology,” Governor Cuomo said. “Increasing the use of renewable energy at our schools will both protect the environment and modernize our electrical grid. I encourage all school districts to apply for this assistance today.”

K-Solar is a joint partnership between the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), working with the New York State Education Department. NYPA is offering every New York State school district free energy advisory services and expertise to collaborate with school personnel in determining if solar energy is suitable and cost-effective for their district. The Authority will work closely with the districts and the solar industry to secure the most attractive solar financing. These services will be free to schools, with the only costs being from the clean electricity generated from the installed solar panels. There is no limit to the number of public school districts that can participate in the program.

Today, NYPA issued a request for qualifications from developers who would install solar panels on school buildings. The deadline for responding to the solicitation is October 9. The solicitation can be accessed on NYPA’s Procurement webpage.

In late July, NYPA and the State Education Department sent letters to school superintendents throughout the state to make them aware of the new program and how they can participate. To date 40 school districts have registered, representing nearly 200 schools across 24 counties.  A map illustrating the current locations of the participating school districts to date is available here.

NYPA President and Chief Executive Officer Gil C. Quiniones said, “With the new K-Solar program, schools will have an expert partner, at no cost, to take full advantage of statewide assistance to make solar installations a reality for their districts.”

NYSERDA administers the statewide NY-Sun Initiative program, which will lower the overall costs of the installations, and the State Education Department will work with the schools to streamline the solar permitting process.

NYSERDA President and Chief Executive Officer John B. Rhodes said, “We look forward to helping school districts across the state gain access to clean, affordable solar energy and become hubs for community solar. Through K-Solar and the NY-Sun Initiative school districts can reduce costs and accelerate progress toward Governor Cuomo’s goal to make the State’s energy systems cleaner and more affordable, resilient and reliable.”

State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. said, “K-Solar is an exciting initiative to give public schools throughout New York State an opportunity to harness solar power for a portion of their electricity needs. Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s innovative energy policies, solar power is gaining an increasing foothold in New York State, and this is about to get a further boost from K-Solar.”

With K-Solar, New York’s role as a leader and first mover in shaping the future of energy remains firmly in place. By developing innovative market solutions, the State is delivering on Governor Cuomo’s commitment to transform the energy industry into a more resilient, clean, cost-effective and dynamic system. Working with State, citizen and industry-stakeholders, the way of doing business in New York is moving to a more market-based, decentralized approach. This means protecting the environment, decreasing energy costs, and creating opportunities for economic growth for current and future generations of New Yorkers. In advancing these new energy infrastructures and solutions, New Yorkers will have improved energy affordability and efficiency without sacrificing the ability to live in a cleaner, resilient and more sustainable environment.

New York State Solar Energy Industries Association Vice President David Sandbank said, “The K-Solar initiative introduced by Governor Cuomo reflects the aggressive efforts by New York State to broaden the use of clean renewable energy to secure our energy future. The installation of solar arrays on school buildings is a wonderful opportunity not only to advance the state’s energy diversity, but to also inspire the clean energy workforce of tomorrow.”

Jackson Morris, director of Eastern Energy at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said, “Solar power can help New York schools save big on their energy bills—freeing up more money to be invested in education, instead of energy—while helping to reduce demand for dirty energy sources that pollute the air our children breathe. On top of the financial benefits, going solar provides an incredible resource to teach kids hands-on lessons about climate science, technology, engineering, math, and what exactly happens when you flip on that light switch. Empower our communities and children with solar today, and who knows where they’ll take us tomorrow.”

Gouverneur School District Superintendent Lauren F. French said, “We’re excited to have an opportunity to participate in the K-Solar Program. The program fits squarely with our priorities for economic electricity bills and clean air while sending an important message to our students on harnessing the use of the sun to generate carbon-free electricity.”

Taconic Hills Central School District Superintendent Dr. Neil Howard, Jr., said, “New York State is demonstrating true leadership through its initiating of the K-Solar Program. We’re looking forward to being one of the districts participating in the program and helping to demonstrate that the timing is now right for solar power for meeting clean electricity needs.”

For more information on K-Solar visit their website.

Photo by fabiennew via Free Images

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