BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) The City of Buffalo is preparing to harness the energy of the sun in a more aggressive way.
“Buffalo will be a climate-refuge city,” declared Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown during Friday’s State of the City Address.
The City is currently taking requests for proposals on what it would cost to put solar projects on 32 city of Buffalo or Buffalo Sewer Authority properties.
One of the sites would be the rooftops of Buffalo City Court and the parking ramp next to it. The vast field of unused space on Unity Island Park along the river, where ground based solar panels could be installed, or further down the island where there are certain spaces next to the water treatment plant.
The old pumping station in LaSalle Park is also a possible site for solar panels.
“The city has been a phenomenal partner,” said Ryan McPherson, chief sustainability officer for the University at Buffalo, who explains this has been years in the making.
Three years ago, he helped win the “Rev Campus Challenge” providing state funds to help UB launch a sustainability initiative that will eventually see UB, Erie Community College, Buffalo State College, Erie County government and the City Buffalo try to achieve a goal getting 50% of their properties energy from renewable sources.
“We can have people in a building working, we can also generate electricity from those places,” said McPherson. “That’s the best place for us.” In his experience, since the University at Buffalo first started putting up solar panels on campus about ten years ago, the cost of installing a solar project is now down to about a quarter of what it used to be.
“Like any new technology, once they start doing more and more of it, they get more efficient and effective at it. They’ve also gotten more efficient and effective at the installation itself.”
You can find a link to the 32 proposed sites here. The city is taking requests for proposals for the next several weeks, and depending on what the costs turn out to be, construction could begin within a year.
“Our power purchase agreement will bring renewable energy, positive environmental change and a creative approach to a sustainable future,” said Mayor Brown.