State grants to help power area solar projects

By REBECCA ISENHART
Gazette Reporter

CAPITAL REGION — Nearly 150 schools, government offices and private businesses in New York state will soon sport gleaming new solar panels, thanks to $94 million in clean energy awards announced Friday by the governor’s office.

The awards were determined by the New York State Energy Resource and Development Authority through its Competitive Photovoltaic Program, which has been soliciting and reviewing applications for four years. They also reflect the drive for solar energy in the state that has come out of the NY-Sun initiative.

“New York is quickly becoming a national leader in renewable energy by building a competitive solar industry, and today’s award recipients are an example of how that progress continues to grow,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

The upgrades are expected to increase the state’s solar energy capacity by 68 percent as compared to the end of 2013, although contracts are still being negotiated, so that number could fluctuate slightly.

“NY-Sun is mobilizing private investment in this clean renewable resource as New York state continues to build clean energy systems that are resilient, reliable and affordable,” said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, in a statement.

Albany, Columbia, Fulton Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Washington counties will host 19 development sites, according to a press release.

Environment One Corp. in Niskayuna will get a set of panels, as will Emma Willard School in Troy and Mohawk Fine Paper in Cohoes. Some of the participating businesses’s names have not been released yet.

Most of the solar panel hosts will have the opportunity to earn credits to offset electricity costs at other locations if they produce energy in excess of their operational needs.

However, the awards themselves went to the installers who will put the new hardware in place. Dynamic Energy, a Pennsylvania-based company, will handle installations in Schenectady and Fulton counties.