The University of Rochester announced it is investing in community solar across upstate New York through a partnership with developer Amp Energy. The university said it will use savings from the off-site solar contracts to fund future sustainability initiatives.
The six solar farms, dispersed throughout the state, will produce over 50 million kWh in year one. The University of Rochester is subscribed to 1 billion kWh of production through the 25 year contract. This is comparable to the energy demand of over 7,000 homes annually and will offset the equivalent of 73,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Under the contract, the solar facility will deliver power to the utility grid, and the utility awards the community solar participants financial credits for the delivered electricity. The credits are applied to the university’s energy bill with a percentage going to Amp as the owner and operator. The university will receive up to 40% of the credits generated, with the remainder subscribed to by local homes and businesses.
Amp focuses on a long-term partnership model with landowners, towns, and stakeholders. The projects are designed to help local landowners maximize or repurpose their land, create local jobs, and maintain biodiversity through the planting of pollinator-friendly seed mixes for vegetative cover underneath the arrays.
Amp announced it will provide a $100,000 contribution to the university for an endowed scholarship for undergraduate students in arts, sciences, and engineering.
“As a proud member of the Rochester community, Amp is pleased to give back to the community and enable future clean energy economy leaders matriculating at the University of Rochester,” says Nicholas Topping, director of US Community Solar at Amp.
In January, Amp Energy announced the six project portfolio totaling 34 MW of community solar projects in New York State achieved financing, with CIT announcing its role as lead arranger for the $50.5 million investment. CIT is a division of First Citizens Bank.
New York State is a hotbed for community solar development in the US, especially for a Northeastern state that has land-use limitations. The Solar Energy Industries Association ranks the state 11th nationally in solar deployment, and reports about 3.1 GW installed and $7.2 billion invested to date.
The state’s successful community solar market comes in part from supportive policies like the NY Sun program. SEIA led efforts to expand and boost incentive values for community solar projects above initially proposed values. New York is projected to develop nearly 4.4 GW of solar over the next five years, said SEIA.
Amp was founded in 2009, and is headquartered in nearby Toronto, Canada. To date, the company has developed or purchased more than 6 GW of renewable energy.
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