The New York Institute for Special Education in the Bronx will be the site of the state’s first solar schools project and will have solar panel arrays installed thanks to a power purchase agreement with SolarCity. The public-private partnership is the first such agreement under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s K-Solar program, which is designed to increase the use of renewable energy at public school districts and nonprofit schools across the state. As part of the agreement, the project will receive free technical assistance from the New York Power Authority and is eligible for approximately $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 Gov. 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 to be had through this program, they can begin to put those dollars back in the classroom where they belong.”
“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,” said New York Institute for Special Education Executive Director Bernadette Kappen. “The solar curriculum will promote STEM-based learning for students with visual impairments and students with emotional disabilities. We are celebrating 185 years of providing educational programs and being selected to participate in this project is a highlight of this important year.”
To view a short video about the project at the New York Institute for Special Education, click here.
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. Since it launched last year, 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.
K-Solar works in tandem with Community Solar NY, a program launched last year to encourage projects known as “Solarize” campaigns—community-organized efforts to gain a critical mass of area homes and businesses to install solar and share significant cost savings. Both programs are a part of Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion NY-Sun initiative to significantly expand the deployment of solar power statewide.
Schools interested in registering with K-Solar will pay no upfront costs for the installation of solar electric systems in return for signing an 18-year contract with a pre-qualified solar developer — either SunEdison or SolarCity, depending on the region— to buy the power that the 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. The program is expected to help schools save money, lower their carbon footprints, provide educational opportunities for their students and further the installation of solar energy in communities.