Columbia University to Support Solar Energy, Battery Storage Project

Sol System's new solar installation along the Hudson

(Credit: Sol Systems)

by | Jan 31, 2024

Columbia University will be the anchor tenant for Sol Systems’ new solar and battery storage project in the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, with plans to purchase solar credits for utility cost savings and to support the clean energy development.

Columbia has committed to buy solar energy from the project over the next 20 years, allowing the university to receive solar credits through the NY-Sun community distributed generation program. Through the community solar project, Columbia will benefit from energy cost savings while also allowing the university community to engage with the project.

“Columbia is deeply committed to advancing sustainability not only on our campuses, but for our local community as well,” said Sean Scollins, assistant vice president for energy and engineering at Columbia University. “By harnessing the innovative combination of solar power and battery storage, this project demonstrates leadership in renewable energy adoption and supports a more sustainable future for our community.”

The project, expected to come online in the second quarter of 2024, will include a 4-megawatt solar installation and a 3.75-megawatt battery storage system. It is located at the village’s Metro-North train station parking lot and is expected to benefit the surrounding community as well as customers in ConEdison’s downstate New York service area.

More Solar Projects Use Battery Storage for Balanced Distribution

Sol Systems said it included battery storage in the new solar project in order to adapt to shifting energy demand and to avoid the use of emissions-heavy backup generators. Altogether, the inclusion of battery storage should allow for even greater cost savings for customers and further emissions reductions than a stand-alone solar farm.

Solar-plus-storage systems have become increasingly widespread as a way to better integrate solar energy into the grid and to increase the value of solar projects overall. Without pairing battery storage with most renewable energy projects, energy gathered during peak hours may be wasted.

Last year, Elevate Renewables released a statement that United States power plants should invest in energy storage systems to meet rising energy demand. Increased deployment of battery storage may also help avoid the need to build more power plants and make additional infrastructure upgrades. The Department of Energy promotes the pairing of battery storage with solar projects to ensure that solar projects may provide consistent energy regardless of weather and for added backup during power outages.

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