CUNY Joins Statewide Solar Effort To Promote Research, Economic Development and Jobs

The City University of New York has joined The Solar Energy Consortium to create a new research and economic development partnership between solar energy companies and academic institutions across the state, in order to dramatically advance the solar industry in New York.

Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., helped to organize the consortium, a not-for-profit organization which aims to identify the challenges facing the solar industry for New York’s scientists, engineers and business researchers to collaboratively address, and to deliver turnkey, economical photovoltaic systems large and small. CUNY joins participating educational institutions including Cornell University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Clarkson University, Binghamton University and The State University of New York at New Paltz.

The congressman–whose upstate district includes Ulster, Sullivan and parts of Tompkins, Tioga, Broome, Delaware, Orange, and Dutchess counties–said CUNY and the consortium, known as TSEC, will create new opportunities for solar energy products and devices that are researched and manufactured upstate, to be used and become more common in New York City.

“With a pressing need to shift away from greenhouse gas-producing forms of energy, New York City, which is a U.S. Department of Energy Solar America Initiative city, is an ideal market for the use of solar products, “Rep. Hinchey said. “By adding CUNY as a TSEC partner, we now have a direct link to New York City as we expand the consortium’s reach into a critical market for solar energy products and devices. TSEC is truly becoming a statewide initiative that is drawing on the talented minds at CUNY and other universities across New York to help solar manufacturers at TSEC develop premier solar products.”

“CUNY’s researchers from several of our campuses will be part of the solution to creating a robust solar market in New York State,” said Iris Weinshall, CUNY’s vice chancellor for facilities, construction planning and design. ” The goals of this consortium are just what New York needs to capture the power of sunlight, our greatest untapped resource, leading the way to energy independence, a healthier environment and increasing the number of green collar jobs.

“This historic collaboration among New York’s universities exemplifies CUNY’s commitment to fulfill the recommendations of the NYS Commission on Higher Education to partner among public and independent institutions and stakeholders for the public well-being,” she added.

The CUNY Economic Development Corp., created to link academic research, workforce development and economic development, recently partnered with the Center for Sustainable Energy at CUNY’s Bronx Community College to develop a new Sustainable Energy and Technology business incubator on the Bronx campus, said said Frederick Schaffer, CUNY’s senior vice chancellor for legal affairs and the economic development corporation’s chairman. The incubator “will provide a springboard for businesses that will be generated as a result of today’s collaboration,” Schaffer said.

“The crucial role that the Center for Sustainable Energy plays is to take vision, policy, initiatives, and turn them into implementation strategies, and make them work.” said Tria Case, the Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable Energy. “That means supporting the advancement and commercialization of emerging technologies, training the green collar workforce, and fostering sustainable businesses with our new incubator. Through the TSEC partnership, CSE and CUNY will help create a viable path from the lab to the roof top.”

The announcement of this new collaboration was made on the campus of Bronx Community College, which serves as home campus for the center. President Carolyn Williams, who co-hosted the event, noted that the college is especially proud to be in the vanguard of CUNY’s efforts to encourage solar alternatives and promote sustainable energy.

President Williams said, “The Center for Sustainable Energy’s ability to bring everyone to the table, to work together, is a prime example of what is needed to make our sustainable future a reality. Foresight, collaboration and implementation. We are proud of the work that the Center for Sustainable Energy has been doing and the recognition gained for its role in furthering sustainable initiatives, instruction, and training on the BCC campus, and for expanding it to other University campuses. The Center’s efforts to bring clarity and understanding to the importance of sustainability has also helped lead to the active engagement of the entire university as well as New York City. ”

During the past decade, CUNY has taken a strong lead in fostering the use of alternative energy, particularly solar, within New York City. The Center for Sustainable Energy has played a key role in the effort. Established with the support of Rep. José E. Serrano, D-Bronx, the Center promotes the use of renewable and efficient energy technologies in urban communities through education, training, workforce development, research and project facilitation. The Center supports clean energy development and conservation as the means to protect the environment, enhance public health, and position New York City to capture emerging economic development opportunities in the energy sector.

The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847 as the Free Academy, CUNY comprises 23 institutions: 11 senior colleges, six community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. The University serves more than 231,000 degree-credit students and 230,000 adult, continuing and professional education students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program for 32,500 high school students, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 300 high schools throughout the five boroughs of the City of New York. The University offers online baccalaureate degrees through the School of Professional Studies and individualized bachelor’s degrees through the CUNY Baccalaureate Degree. The University Teacher Academy provides free tuition for highly motivated mathematics and science majors who seek teaching careers in the city.

Bronx Community College celebrated its 50th anniversary of service to students in New York City in 2007. Over the past five years, enrollment has increased 20 per cent to 9,000 students who study at the college’s landmarked, 44-acre campus—CUNY’s oldest– at West 181st Street & University Avenue. BCC students from more than 109 nations receive an excellent preparation to go on to four-year colleges or to advance into successful vocational careers.