Solar + New York Incentives = Great Opportunity for Cornell University

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Cornell University joins the trend of schools going solar, taking advantage of the favorable environment in New York to install solar at its Ithaca campus. The system will provide savings and an educational opportunity for the university.

With new initiatives to support solar in New York, we’re seeing more developments there. Today’s is part of a trend to put solar on schools and universities, where the benefits go beyond the savings that are so crucial for these institutions. At a school, solar can also serve an important educational purpose.

Cornell University is getting ready to enjoy the benefits of solar with help from ABM (NYSE:ABM), a leading provider of facility solutions, Building Energy, an independent producer of energy from renewable sources, and solar developer Distributed Sun, LLC.

ABM announced today that its energy business started construction on a 2 MW solar array for Cornell University’s campus in Ithaca, New York. The installation represents Cornell’s first large solar endeavor.

ABM will provide engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) as well as operations & maintenance (O&M) services. ABM joint venture partner Building Energy will finance and own the solar power plant in partnership with Distributed Sun, LLC, who developed the project for Cornell.

The 6,500+ panel Lansing solar array is expected to generate an average of just over 2.2 million kWh per year. The system will provide Cornell University with fixed, low-cost energy rates over the life of the 30-year agreement. Cornell will save money in part by hedging against rising utility costs.

Additionally, a section of the plant will be designated for academic use. Students will be able to manipulate 10 solar panels, and they will have access to the web-based dashboard of the solar array’s state-of-the-art monitoring software. Energy and real-time energy use data will be publicly available on the web.

“We are pleased to partner with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Distributed Sun, LLC, and ABM to launch Cornell’s first large solar project,” said Cornell Vice President for Facilities Services Kyujung Whang. “This facility represents a significant step to advance Cornell’s clean energy portfolio. The Lansing solar facility aligns with carbon reduction goals of Cornell, Tompkins County and New York State.”

“ABM is honored to have been selected to install Cornell University’s first solar array,” said Ted O’Shea, ABM energy business vice president. “We continue to focus on developing clean, renewable energy projects that reduce our client’s utility costs, increase power reliability and enhance their position as leaders of sustainability.”

“Distributed Sun selected ABM and BE to ensure Cornell’s exacting requirements for savings, quality and energy assurance are all met,” said Jeff Weiss, Distributed Sun Co-Chairman. “We are thrilled that Cornell trusted us to deploy its first third party energy supply agreement.”

The multi-year, multi-million dollar contract represents the second project for ABM’s recent joint venture with Building Energy, an Italian-based independent power producer.

“Building Energy and its partners have been working extensively with Cornell University to finance and build a highly reliable solar power plant, which will provide Cornell with significant ongoing savings while delivering clean energy,” said Building Energy Managing Director Andrea Braccialarghe. “Our efforts to help customers like Cornell find environmentally attractive solutions for their energy needs have been bolstered by the NY-Sun Initiative and policies that encourage foreign companies like us to invest in renewable energy initiatives in New York State.”