Solar panels near Potsdam airport to help power Clarkson University
Saturday, July 20, 2013 - 8:51 am

By CRAIG FREILICH

POTSDAM -- A solar power project to be built near Potsdam Municipal Airport is expected to be supplying about 10 percent of Clarkson University’s electric needs by next summer.

The two-megawatt solar array is to be built on land that the university owns near Damon Field.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to further diversify our energy sources,” and is another step in the university’s continuing drive for energy efficiency, said Clarkson President Tony Collins.

It is to be supported in part by funding from the NY-Sun Competitive PV Program, which provides incentives for photovoltaic systems larger than 50 kilowatts. It is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

State funding per project is capped at $3 million, and all projects require co-funding to leverage state resources.

This project is among 79 new large-scale solar energy projects that will add 64 megawatts to solar capacity across the state.

These projects are meant to produce power for on-site use, not for direct sale to utilities, but as with many such “net-metering” distributed energy generation projects, unused power is added to the grid in exchange for utility credit.

Another benefit of the project, Collins said, is that “we will be using this for research and curriculum development,” Collins said.

“We’ll be hammering out the contract details, and depending on the eventualities involved in the North Country construction season, we hope it will be ready by next summer.”