Queens College to participate in solar power initiative

By Madina Toure

Queens College will be housing a solar storage system as part of a new three-year collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute and the New York Power Authority.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy announced support for the collaboration, which includes creating a solar photovoltaics system at the college under the SunShot Initiative’s Sustainable and Holistic Integration of Energy Storage and Solar PV program designed to increase solar-generated electricity through integrated photovoltaic and energy storage solutions.

Félix Matos Rodríguez, the college’s president, said the school prides itself on being a community leader in sustainability initiatives.

“We strive for what will benefit the campus and our borough, and simultaneously provide our students with an opportunity to learn best practices as part of their QC education,” Rodríguez said. “Learning to contribute to a more sustainable society is in keeping with our mission to learn so that we may serve.”

The 50- to 60-kilowatt PV system would be built near the FitzGerald Gymnasium, which serves as a coastal storm shelter for the community. The Sustainable CUNY program, which has led federal, state and city efforts since 2005 to reduce the soft costs of installing solar, is leading the CUNY team as part of the CUNY Smart Distributed Generation (DG) Hub, a three-year initiative that will develop a strategic pathway to a more resilient distributed energy system. The Smart DG Hub won support from the Department of Energy SunShot Initiative in 2014.

Tria Case, CUNY’s sustainability director, said Sustainable CUNY’s work over the last decade to reduce solar market barriers has made it easier for New Yorkers to go solar.

“Through the Smart DG Hub and this project, CUNY will now help demonstrate new technology that can protect citizens during energy emergencies as well as to support the Department of Energy goal to integrate resilient solar into our utility grid,” Case said.

CUNY serves as one of New York City’s main partners in its coastal storm shelter operations and accommodated more than 2,700 evacuees during Hurricane Sandy.

The college provided more than 450 men, women and children with shelter and supplies, many of whom were from the hard-hit Rockaways area, including those with special needs.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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