NYPA and SUNY to Build a Campus Microgrid at Gym in New Paltz

May 10, 2016
The New York Power Authority and the State University of New York (SUNY) are partnering to build a $1.37 million campus microgrid to supply power to a gym when the central grid fails.

The New York Power Authority and the State University of New York (SUNY) are partnering to build a $1.37 million campus microgrid to supply power to a gym when the central grid fails.

The campus microgrid will power the Elting Gymnasium, which is a designated Red Cross emergency shelter.  The system includes 217-kW of solar, most of which will be installed on the gym’s roof with the remainder on the nearby Sojourner Truth Library.

The project also includes a hybrid power converter, backup generator, and a battery storage system located in the gym’s basement.

In addition to acting as back-up during an outage, the system will allow the school to use stored solar power during times of peak demand for the university.

The project received $271,720 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and $210,000 from Central Hudson Gas & Electric, the local utility. The additional costs will be financed by NYPA and repaid by the college through the expected energy savings. NYPA is implementing the project and providing more than $580,000 in funding.

“The energy generated by these solar panels can be stored for impactful use at times of high electric demand on campus and during an emergency, allowing for increased flexibility and resiliency of the state’s electric grid,” said Gil Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO.

The project is part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s BuildSmart NY program, a  component of New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to create a more decentralized, reliable and clean power system.  The state has set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent and use renewables for half of its energy needs by 2030.

“Combining solar energy and a battery storage system has the potential to make a huge impact on our energy use. Adding renewables and resilience to the state’s electric grid is a critical component of Governor Cuomo’s energy vision and we are proud to be a partner in this project,” said John Rhodes, NYSERDA president and CEO.

Michael Mosher, president and CEO of Central Hudson said that the project provides an opportunity to test the ability of smart inverters and battery storage to support grid functions for the benefit of all customers.

In addition NYPA, NYSERDA and the Electric Power Research Institute are funding research to identify additional technical and economic benefits of the project. The research is being done through EPRI’s Integrated Grid initiative and directly supports the REV strategy.

“This project gives a glimpse of the grid of the future,” said Mark McGranaghan, vice president of power delivery & utilization at EPRI. “One-day installations like this will be common elements of the grid, providing benefits of resiliency and optimizing overall energy use and grid performance.”

NYPA expects to complete the project by year’s end.

Interested in a microgrid for your facility? Learn from the experts how it’s done. Attend “NY and Beyond,” a microgrid conference hosted by Microgrid Knowledge May 19 in Manhattan. 

About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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