Energy Programs

Cornell Proposes 10-Acre Solar Farm

Cornell University plans to build its second large-scale solar farm, this one on university property in Seneca, NY, to provide electricity for its New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY.

The university opened its first solar farm, the Cornell Snyder Road Solar Farm, in September. That facility is a 2 megawatt array consisting of 6,778 photovoltaic panels on an 11-acre plot beside the Tompkins County Regional Airport in Lansing, NY, producing 2.5 million kilowatts of electricity annually, about 1 percent of Cornell’s total electricity use.

The newly proposed 10-acre solar farm in Seneca will also be a 2 megawatt array and is expected to offset nearly 40 percent of the Agricultural Experiment Station's electricity needs.

“The proposed solar farm will provide a long-term, stable and clean energy source for the agricultural experiment station here,” said Thomas Burr, associate dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of the Agricultural Experiment Station, in a prepared statement.

The proposed solar farm is pending approval from the town of Seneca and finalization of the developer agreement. Once it is online, the university will receive credit for any electricity it adds to the New York State Electric and Gas grid through the remote net metering program. Cornell will use the credit to offset electricity costs at its other locations.

The NY-Sun awards, administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, will cover one-third of the solar farm's capital costs. Distributed Sun, a private developer that will own and operate the array, will secure the remaining capital costs to build the array. Cornell will purchase electricity produced by the array through a power purchase agreement.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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