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In Spring 2011, Onondaga Community College began installation of a 21.16 kWp solar array on the roof of the Whitney Applied Technology Center. The 92 panels will be used for student education and hands-on learning experience, in addition to producing renewable energy and reducing the College's greenhouse gas emissions.
The College’s solar project design and installation is being coordinated by Warner Energy, based in Liverpool, NY. The solar panels will replace approximately 25,000 kWh of the College’s electricity consumption each year. This offset is equivalent to the energy use of approximately three to four residential homes.
The project will be linked to sustainability-related curriculum in the architectural technology program. The College will also offer a real-time online monitoring system for the panels. This will allow students and faculty to track the performance of the solar panels and utilize the information for learning purposes.
Because of the educational application of the solar project, the College was able to secure a significant portion of the funding through a New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) grant. (NYSTAR is now Empire State Development's Division of Science, Technology & Innovation.) Partial funding is also being provided by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) solar photovoltaic rebate program.