Under Governor Cuomo's NY-Sun Initiative, Cornell University Expands Solar Energy and Curbs Carbon Emissions

NYSERDA and Cornell Collaborate with Distributed Sun and Building Energy on Rooftop Solar Projects at two University Buildings

March 03, 2016

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Cornell University, along with Distributed Sun and Building Energy, today will announce that new rooftop solar arrays have been installed atop two university buildings -- Klarman Hall and the College of Human Ecology - to provide clean, sustainable energy to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a clean energy future. The announcement will be made as part of the SolarBration 2.0 event in Ithaca. These solar projects advance the goals of Governor Cuomo's Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy to build a clean, resilient and affordable energy system.

John B. Rhodes, President and CEO of NYSERDA, said, "Cornell's commitment to solar should be commended and serves as a model for other academic institutions. As part of Governor Cuomo's NY-Sun Initiative, solar projects like these at Cornell are assisting the State is achieving its ambitious energy goals while helping lower energy costs and protect the environment."

"In 2007, Cornell committed to campus carbon neutrality and since then we have reduced our carbon footprint by 30%," said KyuJung Whang, Cornell's Vice President of Infrastructure, Properties and Planning. "Solar is one of the trio of renewable sources we will deploy to transition away from reliance on fossil fuel for the generation of electric energy."

The two solar rooftop projects, supported by NY-Sun and commissioned by Distributed Sun and Building Energy are:

  • 64 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels were installed at Klarman Hall, the recently-opened building in the College of Arts & Sciences. This solar array will produce approximately 20 megawatt-hours of clean electricity each year, equivalent to three average-sized homes, and contribute to the university's LEED certification and climate action goals.
  • A 228-panel rooftop array at the College of Human Ecology will generate 70 megawatt-hours of solar power annually, equivalent to 10 average-sized homes. The College of Human Ecology is the first building on the Cornell Campus to be LEED Platinum Certified.
Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) also recently completed construction of a 2.0 MW, ground-mounted solar facility in Geneva that will produce more than 3 gigawatt-hours during its first full year of operation, or 40 percent of the annual electricity usage at Cornell's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva. Cornell also plans to install solar at its research farms in the Towns of Ledyard and Harford, New York in 2016. When complete, Cornell's total solar power commitment will reduce carbon dioxide (C02) emissions by more than 250,000 metric tons over the next 30 years.

Cornell received support for these solar projects under Governor Cuomo's $1 billion NY-Sun Initiative, administered by NYSERDA, which is designed to advance the scale-up of solar and move New York State closer to having a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry.

Today's announcement complements the Southern Tier's comprehensive blueprint to develop an advanced regional economy - attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. An historic $500 million State investment in the Southern Tier through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015, is leveraging more than $2.5 billion in private investment, creating thousands of jobs and generating billions in economic activity. More information is available here.

The four operating solar facilities serving electricity to Cornell were developed by Distributed Sun, which owns and operates the solar arrays with its partner Building Energy, a global independent power producer based in Milan, Italy.

Jeff Weiss, Distributed Sun's Co-chairman and Managing Director, said, "We have made a long-term commitment to help Cornell achieve its targeted savings while reducing its carbon footprint. We are delighted to provide students and faculty with performance data, research opportunities and a platform to explore careers in the renewable energy industry."

Andrea Braccialarghe, Building Energy Managing Director USA, said, "We are proud to continue our partnership with Distributed Sun to help Cornell University broaden its renewable energy portfolio and meet its sustainability goals."

About Reforming the Energy Vision

Reforming the Energy Vision is New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's strategy to build a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. REV is transforming New York's energy policy with new state-wide initiatives and regulatory reforms. REV will grow the state's clean energy economy, support innovation, ensure grid resilience, mobilize private capital, create new jobs, and increase choice and affordability for energy consumers. REV places clean, locally produced power at the core of New York's energy system. This protects the environment and supports the State's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent while generating 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. Successful initiatives already launched as part of REV include NY-Sun, NY Green Bank, NY Prize, K-Solar, and a commitment to improve energy affordability for low-income communities. To learn more about REV, visit www.ny.gov/REV4NY and follow us @REV4NY.

About Distributed Sun

Distributed Sun, LLC (D-SUN) is a solar and on-site energy services provider that develops, constructs and operates commercial solar, distributed generation and micro-grid energy projects in the United States. The Company finances the construction of solar power generating facilities through its captive solar energy investment companies (SEICs) and related finance vehicles, and provides financing and development solutions for strategic tax equity partners. D-SUN specializes in managing solar and distributed energy projects from conception to construction and through ongoing operations and maintenance. The Company has successfully completed MW-scale design/build installs, currently has operational facilities and power under construction in five states, and over 25MW of late-stage development projects currently under finance approval review. For more information, visit www.distributedsun.com


Building Energy is a multinational company operating as Global Integrated IPP in the Renewable Energy Industry on four continents. The company is vertically integrated on the value chain, from the development of projects to the sale of energy. With a pipeline in 24 countries with over 2,500 MW and generative assets being built over the next two years for more than 800MW (the Near Notice to Proceed and Backlog projects), the company is positioned to be one of the major players on the international scene in the renewable energy field. For further information, visit the site www.buildingenergy.it.

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