Penalties imposed on a company that once dirtied the air will help keep it clean and train a new generation in the ways of solar power, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday, July 16.
Five hundred thousand dollars from a $9.5 million settlement with American Electric Power over federal Clean Air Act violations will fund the creation of a solar energy laboratory at the upcoming Hudson Valley Community College TEC-SMART campus, to be located at the Saratoga Technology and Energy Park.
Increasing our reliance on renewable forms of energy will not only provide tremendous environmental benefits, but will also create sustainable, high paying green jobs for New Yorkers, said Cuomo in a statement.
The money will fund two photovoltaic arrays, one on the rooftop of TEC-SMART and one ground-mounted installation. They will supply 62.5 kilowatts of power directly to the building, enough to power 20 homes and avoid 45 tons of carbon dioxide emissions that would result from purchasing power created by conventional sources like coal.
"I think it's really good to be putting solar in anywhere," said Matthew Veitch, supervisor of Saratoga Springs and chairman of the Saratoga County Green Committee. "It's the right thing to do and we need to think about it in any project that we do."
TEC-SMART (Training and Education Center for Semiconductor Manufacturing and Alternative and Renewable Technologies) is intended to educate HVCC students in high-tech occupations, including clean room proficiency for microchip manufacturing. Ground was recently broken on a $4.2 billion GlobalFoundries chip manufacturing plant at the Luther Forest Technology Campus, which is adjacent to STEP.
TEC-SMART is on course to be completed in January and begin classes in the spring. Once up and running, the $13.5 million campus is expected to train 500 to 600 technicians every year, who will go on to work in high tech and green collar jobs. It's expected that a good number of graduates will find work right down the road at GlobalFoundries.