University of Albany adds nearly 2 MW of solar PV to rooftops

The University at Albany unveiled the largest rooftop solar array in the State University of New York system this week. The 1.9 MWdc solar project, constructed under NYPA oversight, covers several rooftops on the campus.

“Across the system, SUNY is getting greener,” says SUNY Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley. “Our campuses are dedicating resources and creating strategic partnerships to ensure our vast infrastructure is more environmentally sustainable and energy efficient, and UAlbany’s rooftop solar project is a powerful example of how campuses can be community leaders in renewable energy.”

The 4,783 panels were constructed on the roof of the Life Science Research building and several roofs within the Academic Podium complex, which consists of academic and administrative buildings around a large open courtyard with two fountains. The installation is the largest rooftop solar PV project in the 64-campus State University of New York system and is a major milestone in the comprehensive energy master plan that UAlbany is implementing to significantly reduce its energy and carbon footprint.

The system is tied directly into the building and will provide about 2.3 GWh of energy annually. The project will expand on a 49.8-kilowatt system on the Social Sciences roof installed in 2011 and a 27 kW system on Campus Center West expansion roof installed in 2017.

The new systems, which were developed with the Power Authority’s energy advisory services, will supply 60 percent of the estimated electricity used by the new ETEC building, designed as a hub for innovation, scholarship, applied research and commercial development. The solar installation will help the structure achieve LEED-Platinum certification, the highest LEED rating for sustainable design. Several other campus buildings have already received LEED certification, including the Platinum designation.

The net metered UAlbany project, through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s NY-Sun program, received incentives to support the implementation of a successful clean energy project that directly benefits the campus.

“We love that this project delivers renewable energy to UAlbany by making use of rooftop space that would otherwise be left idle,” said Jeff Denovan, senior vice president of construction at Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company, which acquired the project in 2021 and now owns, maintains and operates the system. “We look forward to future successful collaborations with NYPA, Solar Liberty, and the SUNY system to help drive the clean energy future in New York.”

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