The University at Albany-State University of New York (SUNY) has begun construction on a solar project that will supply about 60% of the electricity used by its new $180 million ETEC building, expected to open this summer. The university will purchase all the electricity and renewable energy credits (RECs) produced through the 1.8 megawatt system. The new system — one of the many projects in the university’s energy master plan — is being constructed on the buildings of the university’s “Academic Podium,” the buildings surrounding its open courtyard.
In the first year, it will offset more than 3.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide; it will also provide long-term financial savings and help the ETEC building achieve LEED Platinum certification, UAlbany says. The university hopes to reduce its carbon footprint by 40% by 2030.
UAlbany, which spends about $7 million on electricity and over $15 million in utility costs annually, is partnering with energy adviser the New York Power Authority on the project. Solar Liberty has designed and will construct the rooftop arrays.
The project will expand on a 49.8 kilowatt system on the Social Sciences roof installed in 2011 and a 27 kilowatt system on Campus Center West expansion roof installed in 2017. SUNY says these projects support the state’s goal of procuring 70% of New York’s electricity from renewable energy by 2030 and transitioning to a carbon-free power grid by 2040.
UAlbany’s energy master plan is a comprehensive roadmap to reducing energy usage, increasing efficiency, and decrease operating costs. The plan also serves as a way to address asset renewal, resilience and reliability, UAlbany says.