University at Buffalo installs solar array at entrance

Meanwhile, about a thousand miles north of us, a 750 kilowatt solar array opens in Buffalo, New York.

According to PR of yesterday from the University at Buffalo, UB’s 3,200-Panel ‘Solar Strand’ to be Dedicated at Opening Ceremony: Will provide enough electricity to power hundreds of student apartments on campus,

In celebration of Earth Day and to promote clean, renewable energy development, the University at Buffalo and New York Power Authority (NYPA) will dedicate the UB Solar Strand, the 3,200-panel photovoltaic array, at an opening ceremony on Monday, April 23.

Those panels seem inclined quite a bit more than ones around here. That’s because UB is at 43 degrees north latitude, way north of our 31 degrees. And there’s a lot less sun up there, too. Yet they just installed a solar array more than twice as big as the 350 KW array in Valdosta.

UB is a university, and it uses the project for more than a single practical purpose:

The NYPA-funded Solar Strand project merges sustainability with art, serving as a striking new gateway to the university’s North Campus. The installation will serve as a demonstration project to advance the development of solar technologies and as natural classroom for UB students and local schoolchildren.

Some of the panels literally form the roof for a classroom. Akari Iburi wrote for the The Spectrum, the UB student newspaper, 2 September 2011, Show Me The Sunny: Construction on UB’s solar array is well underway,

“The outdoor classroom is literally under the shade of some of the larger panel arrays with plazas that one can bring school busses of elementary school children or environmental [education] classes or even biology classroom work devoted to some of the ecology on site related to the drainage areas that we’ve established on agrarian or natural landscape areas,” Shibley said.

So they planted trees to go with it. Kimberly Snickles write for YNN 23 October 2011, Planting trees for the ‘Solar Strand’,

More than 100 volunteers were out in force Sunday on UB’s North campus, planting dozens of trees along a new eco-friendly construction site.

Members of the public, UB students, staff, and faculty all pitched in to plant the trees along the “Solar Strand.” It’s a massive solar array that is under construction along Flint Road on campus.

From the air, the mowing pattern and trees are designed to look like a DNA strand.

Who paid for all this, anyway?

The Solar Strand is a project funded by the New York Power Authority, which will feature 3,200 solar panels. It’s expected to create the equivalent electricity to power about 700 student apartments.

“It will be, we believe, the first photo-voltaic solar park that will really be open to the public. The public will be able to come in and learn about things, we’ll have educational programs from pre-K through 12 students,” said Ryan McPherson, Chief Sustainability Officer.

NYPA is a state-owned public utility with numerous business, industrial, government, and public utility customers. If NYPA can do this, so can Georgia Power. How about a solar strand at the entrance to VSU? Or Wiregrass Tech? With longleaf pines behind them; that would be a sight!

Who will be the Robert G. Shibley of VSU or Wiregrass Tech?

“We think it matters what the campus looks like and the kind of image we project about our role and interest both in science and technology and efficiency and ecology and also in the humanities, the fine arts and the production of culture that every university is also about,” Shibley said. “And in one gesture, this art installation that generates power sends a message [of] what the university is about.”