Published on February 7th, 2016 | by Cynthia Shahan2
First New York Solar Schools Project At New York Institute For Special Education In The Bronx
February 7th, 2016 by Cynthia Shahan
New York Governor Cuomo recently announced the first solar schools project in New York at the New York Institute for Special Education in the Bronx. The institution was initially established in 1831 as the New York Institution for the Education of the Blind. The governor’s and New York’s K-Solar Program will increase renewable energy use in schools. Solar panel arrays are to be installed at this first location via a power purchase agreement with SolarCity.
New York Institute for Special Education Executive Director Bernadette Kappen said, “K-Solar gives the Institute an opportunity to lower its carbon footprint and be a part of New York State’s plan to increase clean energy sources while saving on costs. The solar curriculum will promote STEM-based learning for students with visual impairments and students with emotional disabilities.”
A group of enterprising sweet children who are just like any children, except they do not see, share their enthusiasm in a short video about the project at the New York Institute for Special Education:
The recent press release from New York shares that, included in the agreement is ongoing free technical assistance from the New York Power Authority for the program, and the program is eligible for about $65,000 in incentives from the governor’s $1 billion NY-Sun initiative.
“This project is demonstrating how our collaborative, innovative approach to modernizing New York’s energy infrastructure is making a difference for New Yorkers,” said Governor Cuomo. “Through the K-Solar program, the state is enabling schools to create greener communities and reduce energy bills by taking advantage of cost-effective solar power. As schools begin to realize the utility savings through this program, they can start to put those dollars back in the classroom where they belong.”
“K-Solar provides registered public and private schools with free ongoing advisory services, solar site assessments and energy analysis, technical and administrative support and an expedited permitting process,” the press release adds. To date, the school districts in 59 of the state’s 62 counties have registered with K-Solar.
“The initiative is a public-private partnership between the New York Power Authority and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority in collaboration with competitively-selected private sector solar developers.”
Joining with K-Solar is Community Solar NY, a program to encourage solar projects through “Solarize” campaigns, which are “community-organized efforts to gain a critical mass of area homes and businesses to install solar and share significant cost savings.” The two programs are a part of Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion NY-Sun initiative. The effort leads the state to expand the deployment of solar power considerably.
Back to K-Solar, interested schools pay no upfront costs for the installation of solar electric systems. However, they do sign an 18-year contract with either SunEdison or SolarCity (depends on the region) to buy the electricity that the installed solar panels generate. “K-Solar guarantees that districts will pay below prevailing market rates over the term of the contract, providing greater certainty about their energy costs over an extended period.”
It follows that the program will aid the students and staff in understanding solar energy better, understanding energy and climate matters better, and even celebrating their schools’ lower carbon footprints. Students experience educational opportunities thanks to new solar educational opportunities, but they also learn that education should be turned into action.
Students may be prompted to consider careers in the solar industry by this initiative. Some may find work for further installation of solar panels in their communities — and in years to come, become solar leaders.
Explained in a previous CleanTechnica post, K-Solar is a core part of New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy. It supports the governor’s requirement that New York meet 50% of its electricity needs with renewable energy resources by 2030. “The program also supports the goals of Governor Cuomo’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math learning initiatives by enhancing student awareness of energy-efficient and renewable technologies, promoting student engagement in clean technology and increasing interest in career opportunities in the energy field. Registered schools receive solar technology curricula, clean-energy training for teachers and other educational materials.”
Images by Solar Energy Industries Association
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