Cornell’s first megawatt scale renewable electric energy generation project since 1904, the Cornell Snyder Road Solar Farm is a 2MWdc array on Cornell property in the Town of Lansing. It was completed in September 2014 and is expected to reduce the university’s annual GHG emissions by 650 metric tons per year. Cornell partnered with a private developer, Distributed Sun LLC, to implement this project. The partnership between Cornell, NYSERDA, Distributed Sun, Building Energy and ABM, and the cooperation of the Town of Lansing and our utility NYSEG is what made this project possible, and is what is needed to enable more projects like it.
The Cornell Snyder Road Solar Farm is will produce roughly 2.5 million kilowatt-hours annually – about 1 percent of Cornell’s total electricity use, or the equivalent electricity to power about 320 homes for a year. The project includes ten solar panels and an inverter which will be dedicated to academic research. These panels are installed on a “tilt” racking system which allows for adjustment to facilitate research studies, and they will be available for Cornell sponsored research and teaching projects as well as for collaborative projects with local community K-12 schools, colleges and their students. Tours of the solar facility will also be offered. System data is available on the Cornell Building Dashboard http://buildingdashboard.cornell.edu and the Cornell Energy Management & Control Systems portal at http://portal.emcs.cornell.edu/SnyderRoadSolarSystem
The solar farm is connected to the grid via “remote net metering”. This allows an entity to build a renewable energy project (e.g. solar, wind, etc.) where it has space that is well-suited for this purpose, and to credit the energy value generated by the project towards consumption of energy at another location.
The grid which supplies Cornell and New York State’s energy needs is becoming greener each year. The mix of energy sources changes over time. As a result, the emissions factor (impact on climate change) for grid electricity is also constantly changing. The equivalency numbers published here reflect an average grid emissions factor for the time of calculation. (EPA e-grid website-https://www.epa.gov/energy/egrid)
Cornell partnered with a private developer, Distributed Sun LLC, on the project using a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA). On behalf of Cornell, DSun financed, permitted, constructed, and will own and operate the solar farm for the duration of the PPA. Cornell licensed a parcel of land to DSun for the project and will purchase all of the electricity produced. DSun secured funding from the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) for about 1/3 of the funding for the project, and with the support of project partners Building Energy and ABM secured the balance of financing.
Learn more about Cornell's solar future in the Climate Action Plan at http://climateaction.cornell.edu